‘You’ve got to give yourself a chance’: Tigers’ late rally dies too soon vs. Giants

Detroit News

Detroit — Maybe the Giants, playing in National League and on the West Coast, hadn’t got the memo about Willi Castro’s throwing arm.

If not, he delivered it in person Tuesday night.

In the fifth inning of the Tigers’ 3-1 loss to the Giants at Comerica Park, Mike Yastrzemski tagged and tried to advance to second base on a ball that Castro ran down in foul territory in the right field corner.

Mistake.

Castro caught it on the run, bounced off the short wall, took two hops and fired a laser to shortstop Javier Báez at second base. Yastrzemski, Castro’s sixth victim this season, seemed a little startled the throw had got there so fast.

“Just a great throw from Willi,” Tigers starter Drew Hutchison said. “He almost got the guy the inning before (Joc Pederson at second base). He’s got a great arm.”

BOX SCORE: Giants 3, Tigers 1

Castro saved at least one run with a running, lunging catch with two on in the fourth inning, too. He took a too-narrow route on a liner in the right-center gap but was able to snag it with an across-his-body, backhanded lunge.

He spun and threw quickly to second base, nearly doubling up Pederson.

“If you’re going to stay in close games, you’ve got to make plays,” manager AJ Hinch said. “I thought we did a great job running down some balls.”

Center fielder Riley Greene took an extra-base hit away from LaMonte Wade Jr. to end the third inning. Shaded toward right field against the left-handed hitter, Greene got a great jump off the bat, tracked the ball 95 feet and made the catch on the dead run.

“You know, I’ve come to expect it,” Hinch said. “That’s kind of where we should be. We expect those plays to be made to give ourselves a chance.”

That it did. Hutchison survived a 25-pitch first inning and soldiered through five innings, allowing only one run on a two-out, RBI single to Pederson in the first.

Hutchison has posted an ERA under 3.00 in his last three starts, but the Tigers’ offense has given him a measly eight runs of support, total.

“He hung in there,” Hinch said. “He was a little erratic early but he settled in nicely. We wanted him to get through the order two times and he did.”

With the Giants stacking their lineup with five left-handed hitters, Hinch went to lefty Daniel Norris in the sixth.

“It was mapped out nicely for us,” Hinch said.

Norris got the first two hitters out, but he walked the left-handed hitting Pederson. Right-handed hitting Evan Longoria made that hurt, hitting a mislocated slider 410 feet over the Tigers’ bullpen in left.

“Longoria hits more homers against right-handers than lefties,” Hinch said. “About the only thing that could’ve hurt us there is the homer. He tried to go down and away and he yanked it over the plate. Longoria didn’t miss.

“That’s a tough sequence there. He was seemingly in control of the inning until the walk.”

Longoria’s blast gave Giants starter Carlos Rodon all the cushion he needed. The lefty who tormented Tigers’ hitters for seven years with White Sox yielded only one run and struck out 10 through seven innings.

The Tigers whiffed 23 times on 48 swings against Rodon — 17 times on 29 swings at his 95-mph four-seam fastball.

“Swing and miss is part of his game and it’s been a nemesis for us,” Hinch said. “Match those two together and it can turn into a tough night.”

The run came in the seventh on an RBI single by Eric Haase. Báez led off the inning hitting a pop-up into shallow center field. Angry at himself, he spiked his bat into the dirt and jogged head-down toward first base.

Báez could have been on second had he run hard out of the box. But he made up for it by stealing second base and getting in scoring position for Haase.

The Tigers made one last rush at it, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth against Giants flame-throwing closer Camilo Doval.

Victor Reyes started it, extending his hitting streak to eight games with a double to left-center. He went to third on a passed ball and stayed there on an infield single by Báez.

After Haase walked, Miguel Cabrera came to bat with the bases loaded.

No joy in Tigerville. After a nine-pitch battle, Cabrera was called out on a 3-2 pitch that barely caught the edge of the zone. Harold Castro grounded out to end it.

“You’ve got to give yourself a chance,” Hinch said. “We gave ourselves like one chance. That’s what makes it hard in a nine-inning game.”

cmccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky

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