Detroit Tigers’ offense punchless in 3-0 loss to Oakland Athletics

Detroit Free Press
Dana Gauruder |  Special to Detroit Free Press

Pitching and defense failed the Detroit Tigers in their series opener at Oakland on Thursday. Their bats went silent on Friday.

They were shut out for the first time this season, 3-0, while producing just four singles. Oakland starter Frankie Montas and three relievers overpowered them, racking up 11 strikeouts.

Tigers pitchers issued 12 walks and their infielders committed two errors in an 8-4 loss to the A’s on Thursday. They only issued two walks and didn’t commit an error on Friday but Jose Ureña’s quality start went to waste.

Matt Chapman homered off reliever Derek Holland in the eighth.

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Jose Ureña goes seven strong innings

Ureña pitched seven innings for the first time since May 27, 2019, when he held Washington to two runs as a member of the Miami Marlins.

He had just one subpar inning in his latest seven-inning stint. Urena cruised through the first three innings, allowing one hit.

Ureña, who walked a combined nine batters in his first two starts, got into trouble when he issued a one-out pass to Ramon Laureano on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth. Matt Olson followed with an infield single.

Following a fielder’s choice, Mitch Moreland ripped a 95 mph fastball to right center, through the shift, to bring in Laureano. Sean Murphy then pulled a four-seam fastball past third baseman Jeimer Candelario for an RBI double.

Ureña only walked one more batter while striking out eight, including two in his final inning. He caught Mark Canha looking for the third straight time with a slider and got Laureano swinging through another slider.

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Frankie Montas leaves them queasy

Oakland starter Frankie Montas gave Tigers hitters a steady diet of tailing fastballs, adding in a mixture of sliders and splitters. That gave them a bellyache, as they only managed two hits — singles by Robbie Grossman and Victor Reyes — in six innings. Montas issued one walk and struck out seven.

Jeimer Candelario shattered his bat on a Montas fastball in the fourth, resulting in a weak groundout. Akil Baddoo couldn’t catch up to the fastball, striking out in both of his plate appearances against the right-hander.

Montas’ final strikeout came on an elevated fastball to Willi Castro. Renato Nunez hit into a fielder’s choice on Montas’ 100th and final pitch of the night.

Breathing a little easier

The series marks the first time that COVID-19 restrictions have been eased on Tigers coaches and players. A vast majority received Johnson & Johnson vaccines more than two weeks ago and are considered fully vaccinated.

A.J. Hinch said it was liberating, though a little odd, when he managed maskless on Thursday.

“It was nice to feel a little bit of normalcy in and around the dugout, but also I felt a little awkward, just being around the guys for the first time in a long time without a mask on,” Hinch said.

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