Matt Manning holds his own as the Tigers bullpen falters in 7-5 loss to the Angels

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers starter Matt Manning made a promising major-league debut but couldn’t quite match Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani. The Angels then battered Detroit’s bullpen and ended the Tigers’ three-game winning streak, 7-5, on Thursday.

Taylor Ward clubbed a grand slam off Kyle Funkhouser during the Angels’ five-run seventh.

Manning, the team’s top minor-league pitching prospect, allowed just two second-inning runs in five innings of work but was charged with the loss. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up four hits, walked two and struck out three before manager AJ Hinch removed him.

Ohtani held the Tigers to one run — a Jonathan Schoop homer — in six innings in the opener of a four-game series. The Tigers scored three runs in the eighth and another in the ninth against the Angels’ bullpen but couldn’t make up the deficit. Jeimer Candelario grounded out with a runner on to end the game.

Manning brings the heat

Matthew Boyd’s arm injury earlier in the week led to Manning’s call-up, even though he had an 8.07 ERA and allowed 11 homers in 32 ⅔ innings in seven starts at Triple-A Toledo. Manning didn’t seem the least bit intimidated, relying heavily on his fastball during a solid debut.

He gave the first batter he faced, former Tiger Justin Upton, a steady diet of four-seamers and recorded a ground out on a 3-1 pitch. That set the tone for Manning’s outing, as 12 of the 15 outs he notched came on fastballs. He mixed in some curves, changeups and sliders during his 77-pitch outing.

Center fielder Daz Cameron casually retrieved a Kean Wong hit in the second inning and Wong legged it into a double. Luis Rengifo and David Fletcher ripped fastballs for RBI singles but Manning was undeterred. He struck out Upton looking with a heater to end the inning.

Manning fanned Upton again in his final inning of work, blowing a 95-MPH fastball by him. After walking Ohtani on a 3-1 changeup, Manning struck out Ward looking with another 95-MPH fastball.

Defense backs up Ohtani

Ohtani recorded a combined 18 strikeouts in 11 innings during his first two starts this month. He wasn’t quite as overpowering against the Tigers, collecting five strikeouts, but was aided by his defense.

Akil Baddoo had an extra-base hit to right field in the second inning. Baddoo tried to stretch a double into a triple but second baseman Rengifo made a perfect relay throw to third baseman Wong to nail him.

The Tigers had another threat going in the fourth after Candelario reached on a bunt single and Ohtani hit Miguel Cabrera in the arm with a splitter. But Eric Haase grounded into an inning-ending double play. Cameron bounced into a double play in the fifth.

Busy Funkhouser falters

Funkhouser’s week has been eventful. He made his first major-league start on Sunday, tossing 2 ⅔ scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox.

Funkhouser returned to the mound the next day and recorded two outs among three batters faced. Boyd departed Monday’s game against Kansas City in the third inning and Funkhouser was one of eight relievers used during the 10-3 victory.

He entered Thursday in the seventh with the Tigers trailing 2-1 and only got one out. The Angels loaded the bases on two singles and an error. Another former Tiger, Jose Iglesias, singled home a run before Ward clobbered a slider over the left-center wall.

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