In a ballpark that often boosts offense and plays to the longball, the Tigers managed only two runs off Texas’ Justin Grimm. Grimm picked up the win with two runs, seven hits, one walk and two Ks over 6.2 IP. A trio of Texas relievers shut the Tigers down after Grimm departed; Michael Kirkman, Tanner Scheppers and familiar foe Joe Nathan combined for a flawless 2.1 IP of relief.
After Sanchez was pulled, Drew Smyly and Phil Coke combined for 5.1 IP, and allowed just 1 run, 4 hit, 2 walk, as they racked up 4 Ks. Smyly was a little wild at times, but lasted 3.1 IP and gave up only the single run, and Coke was strong in his 2 scoreless innings. Smyly and Coke saved the bullpen for the final game of the series and, if these previous three games were any indication, the Tigers might need all hands on deck.
Alex Avila had a rough game as well, as he contributed a throwing error and a passed ball that accounted for the unearned run in the first inning. He also struggled at the plate, as he went hitless and left two on base. Avila is anything but a fluke, but he’s certainly struggling right now.
The Tigers’ loss on Saturday, coupled with Cleveland’s win—following a Chris Perez meltdown, no less—leaves the team one game out of first place.