Matt Manning rocked for nine runs in Detroit Tigers’ 13-5 loss to Cleveland

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers pitching coach Chris Fetter walked to the mound to speak with right-hander Matt Manning, a 23-year-old rookie making the third start of his MLB career, with two outs in the fourth inning Monday at Progressive Field.

Manning had been beat up by Cleveland, allowing two runs in the first inning, three runs in the second and, at the time, one run in the fourth. As slugger Jose Ramirez prepared to enter the batter’s box, Tigers manager AJ Hinch wanted to give Manning a chance to finish strong.

But Ramirez crushed his 17th home run — a three-run blast — to give Cleveland a 9-2 lead. The Tigers (34-45) were doomed by Manning’s struggles in a 13-5 loss in the three-game series opener.

“The big leagues is hard if you don’t execute,” Hinch said. “They put the ball in play pretty hard and delivered some big blows. We didn’t get into the game, and we didn’t keep them off the scoreboard in many innings. Just a bad day on the mound.”

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Manning allowed nine runs on nine hits over 3⅔ innings. He did not allow a walk but only picked up two strikeouts and three swings and misses. After throwing 75 pitches (50 strikes), Hinch removed Manning from the game.

“It stinks to get ran like that,” Manning said. “But I’ll respond, put a good day of work in breaking down the film and get better from it.”

An outing to forget

Before Ramirez’s home run, Cleveland made Manning uncomfortable. The first two batters, Cesar Hernandez and Amed Rosario, reached with a single and a double, respectively.

Both scored — Hernandez on a ground out to second base and Rosario on a sacrifice fly to center field — for a 2-0 lead. Manning needed 19 pitches to get through the first inning, but he went back into the dugout with momentum from three consecutive outs.

The second inning was eerily similar to the first frame, as Harold Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer opened with back-to-back hits — a double and a single — for a 3-1 lead. Two batters later, Austin Hedges crushed Manning’s fastball for a two-run homer to left field.

“It was supposed to be down and away,” Rogers said about the pitch to Hedges. “He missed up and in. Tip the cap to Hedges. He got to it and got enough.”

Manning added: “I missed my spot, but I don’t think I left it over (the plate). I think he just got the barrel to it. I thought it was going to be a pop fly, but it had some carry to it. That just happens.”

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Manning responded by using just nine pitches for a perfect third inning, but Cleveland didn’t take long to get back on track. A two-out double from Hernandez scored the sixth run, and Ramirez blasted his three-run homer to right field to end Manning’s night.

Manning threw 47 fastballs (63%), 18 changeups and 10 curveballs. He got three swings and misses, and Cleveland finished with an average 92.8 mph exit velocity against him — meaning Manning did not miss bats and his opponents made hard contact.

“The (pitch) usage could’ve been a little better tonight,” Rogers said. “He could’ve finished some balls with two strikes in the dirt. I thought we left a lot of pitches over the plate with two strikes. There’s a little bit of everything. It was an off night. They put together some good at-bats.”

Through 14⅓ innings, Manning has an 8.16 ERA, four walks and six strikeouts in his MLB career. Opponents have a .300 batting average. Entering Monday’s start, he used his fastball for 66% of his 157 pitches.

Manning became the Tigers’ first starting pitcher to allow nine-plus earned runs without completing four innings since Sept. 20, 2019, when Jordan Zimmermann got throttled by the Chicago White Sox for nine runs (11 hits, one walk, six strikeouts) over 3⅔ innings.

Both Manning and Zimmermann allowed two home runs in their historically poor starts.

Bullpen arms

Despite Manning’s departure, Cleveland didn’t quit making hard contact.

Miguel Del Pozo allowed two runs on three hits in his season debut for the Tigers. He was called up from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, when righty reliever Michael Fulmer went to the 10-day injured list.

He completed the fourth inning but only made one out in the fifth before Hinch picked another bullpen arm. Del Pozo, a left-hander, threw 12 of 17 pitches for strikes in his first appearance. Right-hander Buck Farmer struggled to command his fastball, but he gave his team 1⅔ innings.

Still, Farmer allowed one run on three hits. Back-to-back one-out doubles from Ramirez and Rosario pushed Cleveland’s lead to 12-4 in the sixth inning. Although Farmer escaped the sixth without further damage, he was forced to throw 31 pitches, 19 for strikes.

The Tigers turned to lefty Daniel Norris for the seventh inning. He struck out two batters but Cleveland sprinkled in three singles. The third single, from Ramirez, put Cleveland ahead 13-4. Ramirez finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs. Hernandez, Amed Rosario, Harold Ramirez and Jose Ramirez had three-hit performances.

An interesting note from Norris’ outing: His fastball averaged 94.6 mph, a 2.2 mph jump from his yearly average. He reached 96.1 mph.

“Velocity is sort of a number on the board,” Hinch said. “It’s about execution to me. I don’t care how hard you throw if you don’t locate. (Cleveland) threw three guys today that threw 90 miles per hour and worked tough our lineup. Velo is one thing. Velo with execution is another.”

Left-hander Tyler Alexander pitched the eighth inning. He was the only Tigers pitcher to not allow an earned run in Monday’s game.

No. 493

In the second inning, Miguel Cabrera tagged an opposite-field solo home run to right-center field. He clobbered an 0-1 offering from Cleveland starter Eli Morgan. It was his sixth homer of the season and the 493rd of his career.

He tied Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 28th place on the all-time home runs leaderboard. Next on the list is Eddie Murray at 504 home runs, and Cabrera is now seven home runs away from the esteemed No. 500.

Cabrera also has 2,914 hits in his career.

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The Tigers scored their second run on Jeimer Candelario’s single in the fourth inning. Rogers tossed in his fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot, to left-center field in the fifth inning.

“I’m getting some ABs under my belt, that always helps,” Rogers said. “It helps with being comfortable and all that good stuff. I’m finding some barrels. A couple hard-hit balls the last couple days, and I didn’t get them to fall. That’s what I’m trying to do, just go up there and put the barrel on the ball.”

Robbie Grossman chipped in a line-drive solo homer in the seventh inning. Detroit finished with five runs on seven hits and one walk, striking out 11 times.

“We are a team that’s better when Robbie’s swinging the bat well,” Hinch said. “Coming back from a couple rough at-bats, to get a homer at the end should make him feel pretty good going into tomorrow.”

For Cleveland, Morgan allowed four runs on six hits. The bullpen — Nick Sandlin (1 inning), Blake Parker (1 inning), Nick Wittgren (1 inning) and Bryan Shaw (1 inning) — held the Tigers to one run the rest of the way. Sandlin and Parker got strikeouts for five of their six outs in perfect sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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