Detroit Tigers rookie Matt Manning slammed his glove after a 32-pitch first inning. He then slung his glove on his way into the dugout with two outs in the fourth inning, moments after manager AJ Hinch pulled him from his outing.
Pitching coach Chris Fetter jumped in front of Manning for a quick conversation. They will surely have further discussions leading up to the next start.
Because this one was miserable.
The Tigers were throttled early and often by the Oakland Athletics, leading to an 8-6 loss in the series finale at Comerica Park. With a chance to win the three-game series after Tuesday’s gutsy comeback, Manning put his team behind by four runs in the first inning.
Although the Tigers (63-72) didn’t go quietly, Manning’s eventual eight-run deficit was too much to overcome. Relievers Miguel Del Pozo (2⅓ innings), Derek Holland (one inning) and Alex Lange (two innings) delivered scoreless outings to keep the game from getting out of hand.
The ever-resilient Tigers scored five runs in the seventh inning — behind Akil Baddoo’s two-run homer and Jeimer Candelario’s three-run blast — and chopped the Athletics’ lead to 8-6 but were blanked the rest of the way.
Oakland closer Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save, working around Robbie Grossman’s one-out walk. After a slew of hard-hit foul balls down the right-field line, Candelario flew out to the warning track in left for the second out. Eric Haase then grounded to shortstop for the final out.
Making his 13th MLB start, Manning allowed eight runs on eight hits and three walks over 3⅔ innings.
The trouble began with one out in the first inning, when Manning walked Starling Marte on six pitches after getting ahead 1-2 in the count. The right-hander then walked Matt Chapman — despite starting out 0-2 — with two outs.
Jed Lowrie made the 23-year-old pay for his mistakes, blasting a three-run homer on a two-seam fastball down in the zone over the left-field wall for a 3-0 lead. The next batter, Mark Canha, then drove a seventh-pitch two-seamer down the middle — after Manning got ahead 1-2 — to make it 4-0.
After a 32-pitch first inning, Manning used 16 pitches in the second, 17 in the third and 15 for two outs in the fourth. The Athletics scored one run in the second and two more in the third for a 7-0 lead ahead of Manning’s final frame.
He returned for the fourth in hopes of ending on a positive and saving the bullpen for the upcoming six-game road trip against the Cincinnati Reds (Friday-Sunday) and Pittsburgh Pirates (Monday-Wednesday), but nothing went as planned.
Following two quick outs, Matt Olson and Chapman delivered consecutive singles to chase Manning from his start. Once left-handed reliever Miguel Del Pozo replaced him, pinch-hitter Khris Davis pelted a ground-rule double down the left-field line on the first pitch he saw.
Oakland’s eighth run was charged to Manning. He tossed 55 of 80 pitches for strikes, generated one strikeout and only logged three swings and misses.
In the fifth inning, the Tigers scored their first run on Harold Castro’s solo homer to the shrubs straightaway center field. He tagged a first-pitch two-seamer from Athletics right-handed starter Frankie Montas, who pitched into the seventh inning.
The ball traveled 447 feet, the longest by a Tiger at Comerica Park in 2021.
For the second time in as many days, Castro played long ball. Recently expressing his desire to put his power on display in September, the 27-year-old utility player now has eight career homers over 209 games in parts of four seasons.
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Baddoo chased Montas with two outs in the seventh, driving an opposite-field two-run homer to left. His 12th blast this season trimmed Tigers’ deficit to 8-3. Like Castro, Baddoo sent one over the fence in Wednesday’s win — giving him back-to-back games with a home run.
Montas allowed three runs on five hits and three walks over 6⅔ innings, striking out seven batters and throwing 75 of 104 pitches for strikes.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.