Detroit — It likely wasn’t going to be a repeat effort from Spencer Turnbull.
The Tigers starter threw his first career no-hitter last week against the Seattle Mariners and had good stuff again Monday. But whether it was fatigue, excitement or a Cleveland Indians team eager to swing the bat, Turnbull found himself working out of multiple jams.
The effort was still good enough to put the Tigers in a position to win. Turnbull was tagged for three runs and seven hits as he pitched six innings and left with the game tied at 3. But a troublesome seventh for reliever Bryan Garcia, who allowed the go-ahead run to score on a bases-loaded wild pitch as Detroit dropped the series opener to the Indians at Comerica Park, 6-5.
Its the third loss in a row for the Tigers (18-29) and fifth straight against Cleveland. The Indians (25-20) sit a game behind the White Sox for first in the American League Central.
Turnbull’s no-hit bid was put to an end early. Eddie Rosario laced a first-pitch fastball to center to lead off the second inning. The damage, however, was negligible after Turnbull induced a double play and got Josh Naylor to ground out to get out of the inning.
The Tigers got out to a 2-0 lead in the second after Niko Goodrum got things started with a leadoff single and Victor Reyes, in his first game back with Detroit since being recalled from Toledo on Sunday, walked in his first at-bat. Willi Castro scored Goodrum on a bloop double down the right-field line, which also advanced Reyes to third. Reyes scored on a sacrifice fly from Robbie Grossman.
Cleveland struck right back and evened it up at 2 in the third. The Indians started the inning with three straight singles, including the first career hit for leadoff man Owen Miller. He hit a slow roller to Goodrum and beat the throw. He advanced to second on a single from first baseman Jake Bauers and scored on a liner to center by catcher Rene Rivera. Rivera’s hit dribbled off the glove of a diving Reyes.
Bauers scored on a fielder’s choice and Turnbull got Jose Ramirez and Eddie Rosario to flyout to prevent further damage.
The Tigers reclaimed a 3-2 lead but a baserunning blunder possible prevented another run from scoring. Jeimer Candelario doubled to lead off the bottom of the third and advanced to third on a two-out single from Goodrum. Candelario scored on a single from Nomar Mazara, which also moved Goodrum to third. Mazara got caught in a pickle between first and second while Reyes was up, but Bauers fired a strike from first to Rivera to nab Goodrum by a few steps.
Harold Ramirez tied the game at 3 with a two-out single in the sixth. Amed Rosario had led the inning off with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. Ramirez lined a 3-2 slider that deflected off Turnbull’s glove. After getting checked on by pitching coach Chris Fetter, Turnbull got the next batter to pop out and end the threat.
Turnbull’s night was over after 86 pitches. He threw a career-high 117 pitches in his no-hitter last week and escaped with only three runs charged to him in part by three double-plays turned behind him. The right-hander left the game with three strikeouts and a walk.
Turnbull’s hit 97 mph twice, but his fastball mainly stayed around 94-95.
Miller reached again to lead off the seventh, this time with a hard hit grounder that ate up Candelario and was ruled an error. Bauers singled and Cesar Hernandez walked to load the bases. Garcia got Amed Rosario to fly out, but he threw a breaking pitch in the dirt to Jose Ramirez that got by catcher Eric Haase. He later walked Ramirez and his night was done.
That meant lefty Daniel Norris was tasked with disposing of Eddie Rosario. But Rosario was able to lace a 2-2 pitch from Norris into center field to score a pair. Rosario was picked off trying to steal second for the last out of the inning.
The Tigers’ rally attempt fell short in the home half of the seventh. Reyes started things off with a leadoff single — his first hit since being recalled from Triple-A on Sunday — which set the table for Willi Castro to pull a 92.4 mph fastball 356 feet into the right-field seats off reliever Nick Wittgren.
The Tigers also loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Jordan Luplow made a diving catch to rob Haase of a hit and end the threat.