Detroit — Well, Isaac Paredes was held hitless.
That was about the only positive development for the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night at Comerica Park, as the Tampa Bay Rays took advantage of two missed plays at shortstop from Javier Báez in the fourth inning and cruised to a 6-2 win to open the four-game series.
The Tigers bounced back from a 2-0 deficit in the third inning — behind some shoddy defense from Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz — only to botch their opportunities at keeping the game tied in the next half inning.
“They come out, we give ’em an extra couple plays, and they took advantage of it. We took advantage of their mess and then gave it right back,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said.
Aside from the errors that were accounted for in the box score, the Tigers also had a handful of base-running errors that killed innings early.
“It bothers me a lot. We should be better. It’s funny — not funny, but it’s physical and mental. I mean, these are plays that are not hard,” Hinch said. “So, that’s the frustrating part, when you get in a rut like this has been, you try to do too much, you try to extend something, you try to see something that’s not really there, you stop letting the game come to you, and it turns into a lot of mental mistakes.
“So, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Báez was 2-for-4 with an RBI, center fielder Riley Greene picked up an RBI on a sacrifice fly and starting pitcher Drew Hutchison went six innings with eight hits, four runs, two earned, three walks and three strikeouts while taking the loss for Detroit (42-65).
“It was kind of a battle in the beginning. I thought I got better as the game went on, just a couple mistakes and I paid for them,” Hutchison said.
Brandon Lowe had a three-RBI night with a home run, Randy Arozarena was 4-for-5 with two RBI and starting pitcher Jeffrey Springs went six innings, giving up four hits and no earned runs with no walks and six strikeouts for the Rays (56-49).
The Rays outhit the Tigers, 12-6.
“We haven’t swung the bat very well,” Hinch said. “It’s just not a very good night offensively, and it’s been a rough go of it for a majority of the season, so it is difficult, obviously, when you give a team more outs than they deserve.
“Now, you’re not gonna win games 1-0, 2-0. So you can make an error or two, but you’ve still gotta swing the bat.”
Hutchinson got through the first two innings with relative ease, but could only hold off the Rays for so long. Diaz drew a four-pitch walk with one out in the third, prompting a mound visit. The very next batter, Lowe hammered a 2-1 changeup into the seats in right field to put the Rays up, 2-0.
The Tigers got their first hit of the game on a third-inning single from Daz Cameron. The Rays’ Diaz then booted two straight bouncers to third base, helping the Tigers load the bases with no out when the inning probably should have been over.
A fly ball to center gave Greene an RBI sac fly and RBI single from Báez, his team-leading 41st RBI of the year, tied the game at 2-2.
Tampa Bay went back on top in the fourth inning. Báez couldn’t play a hardly hit ball to shortstop and then committed an error on the next play — his league-leading 16th of the season — as a single from Lowe, followed by a wild pitch, put the Rays up, 4-2.
After that, Hutchison said he felt like he “got into a better rhythm.”
“I was able to get these six (innings), and that was the positive, to get to six innings.”
In the fifth inning, Victor Reyes saved the Tigers from falling behind even further when he snatched a would-be home run by Christian Bethancourt from just above the yellow line atop the left-field fence.
Alex Lange came on in the seventh to relieve Hutchison.
Lange struck out Lowe to start his relief appearance but then walked two batters on four pitches each, put them both in scoring position with a wild pitch. Arozarena, on the eighth pitch of his at-bat, smoked a one-out RBI single to left for a 5-2 Tampa lead in the seventh.
Tampa added an insurance run in the ninth when Arozarena roped an RBI double to the left-field corner. Báez received another error for missing catcher Eric Haase on the throw home, giving him a 17th error on the year.
Haase and third baseman Jeimer Candelario each singled with one out in the ninth.
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