Perfection turns perplexing for Boyd in loss

Detroit Tigers

DETROIT — For four perfect innings, Matthew Boyd looked like he had a chance to reprise his no-hit bid from another crisp Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park three years and three days ago. What happened after that looked like the 2020 form that has perplexed the left-hander and the Tigers

DETROIT — For four perfect innings, Matthew Boyd looked like he had a chance to reprise his no-hit bid from another crisp Sunday afternoon at Comerica Park three years and three days ago. What happened after that looked like the 2020 form that has perplexed the left-hander and the Tigers as much as or more than opposing hitters.

Boyd will have one more start this regular season after Sunday’s 7-4 loss to Cleveland sent the lefty to his sixth loss in his last eight starts. Carlos Carrasco’s seven scoreless innings might well have denied Boyd any chance at a victory anyway, but his mix of pitches over his first four innings looked like another step of progress before his outing fell apart in the fifth.

Box score

Boyd (2-7) spent his first four innings building off his start last month in Cleveland, where he fed Indians hitters a steady diet of changeups. He went curveball, changeup, then back to the curveball to fan slugger Franmil Reyes on three pitches in the second inning. Oscar Mercado took two changeups for strikes and fanned on another, spotted beautifully at the bottom of the strike zone, to lead off the third.

Boyd retired his first 12 batters in order with only one ball, a José Ramírez groundout, hit harder than 98 mph. He generated seven swings and misses off his changeup, and he reached just two three-ball counts with arguably his best command of the season. Carrasco allowed an Austin Romine single and a Daz Cameron walk but otherwise kept pace, sending Boyd back out for the fifth inning in a scoreless duel.

From there, Boyd looked like a different pitcher, falling behind on 3-0 counts to his first two batters. Carlos Santana centered a 3-1 fastball over the plate and sent it back through the middle for a leadoff single. Reyes drew a walk after seeing five fastballs and a changeup. Boyd went back to the curveball on a 1-2 pitch to Jordan Luplow but hung it, allowing Luplow to line an RBI single to left. Delino DeShields tacked on two more runs by jumping a first-pitch hanging slider and lining it to center.

After retiring Cleveland’s first 12 batters, Boyd retired just three of his final nine. His 87th and final pitch wasn’t bad, a changeup low and in, but it was elevated just enough for Ramírez to extend his arms and pull it into the Tigers’ bullpen, where Nick Ramirez was warming.

Boyd finished with five runs on five hits over five-plus innings, with a walk and three strikeouts. His ERA rose to 6.96. The Tigers rallied once Carrasco left with a Willi Castro broken-bat RBI single ahead of Miguel Cabrera’s seventh home run of the season and 484th of his career, all off Cam Hill.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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