By Anthony Fenech/Detroit Free Press
There was a time on Friday night when the Detroit Tigers had runners on second and third base with nobody out. It was in the top of the fourth inning.
Nick Castellanos was at the plate, Mike Pelfrey was on the mound and there were three balls and no strikes. The Tigers did not score that inning. On the next pitch, Castellanos grounded to third base, J.D. Martinez was thrown out at home and the next two batters couldn’t get the run home.
It was the biggest blunder in another sluggish game of what’s looking like one of those road trips for the Tigers: After they arrived in the Windy City at 4 a.m. Friday morning and arrived at Guaranteed Rate Field around noon, they waited nearly 10 hours for left-hander Matt Boyd to pitch erratically once again and the offence to miss opportunities once again. They were blasted by the White Sox, 8-2.
With the loss, the Tigers fell three games under the .500 mark for the first time this season. They are 1-4 on a lengthy road trip that continues this afternoon with a straight doubleheader.
Boyd allowed too many hits (nine), didn’t throw enough innings (4 2/3) and lost his third consecutive decision. He allowed three runs, struck out three and walked two. The big damage came in the third inning, when former Tiger Avisail Garcia tagged Boyd for a three-run triple to leftfield. In that inning, Boyd retired the first two men with ease but couldn’t get the final out easily at all.
The Tigers opened the scoring when John Hicks drove in Justin Upton on a groundout in the top of the second inning. Upton reached on an error then went first to third base with good baserunning on a Castellanos single. It looked like it would be a promising night against Pelfrey, whom the Tigers released in spring training.
Instead, they squandered their most sizeable opportunity of the night in the fourth and never really threatened again. Pelfrey, meanwhile, allowed two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out seven batters, one shy of his career-high. The Tigers owe him $8 million this season.
Alex Avila hit his sixth home run of the season, off Pelfrey in the fifth inning, to close the gap to one run, but after right-hander Shane Greene cleaned up Boyd’s mess in the bottom half of the inning, lefty Blaine Hardy allowed two runs in the sixth inning.
Manager Brad Ausmus likely went to Hardy because the Tigers trailed and Greene has thrown on four of the past six days. The Tigers have six games remaining on this trip in five days. Chad Bell – who pitched pretty well – allowed a three-run home run to Melky Cabrera in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Tigers did not look good. They will have two chances to turn the tide later today.
Atlanta 2 San Francisco 0
LA Dodgers 4 Chicago Cubs 0
Colorado 10 St. Louis 0
Chicago White Sox 8 Detroit 2
Arizona 4 Milwaukee 2 (10 innings)
Houston 2 Baltimore 0
Tampa Bay 5 Minnesota 2
Kansas City 6 Cleveland 4
Miami 8 LA Angels 5
Boston 3 Seattle 0
Toronto 7 Texas 6
Cincinnati 5 Philadelphia 2
NY Mets 8 Pittsburgh 1
Oakland 4 NY Yankees 1
Washington 5 San Diego 1
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