Detroit Tigers shut out, 7-0, and swept by Seattle Mariners

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez wasn’t sharp in his third start since returning from the restricted list.

The 29-year-old only issued two walks in Thursday’s start, but he allowed six runs and failed to pitch into the fifth inning. His competition, 25-year-old right-hander Logan Gilbert, twirled six scoreless innings for the Seattle Mariners.

The Tigers lost, 7-0, and were swept by the Mariners in three games at Comerica Park. Detroit’s offense finished with four hits, one walk and 11 strikeouts; the defense committed two errors, including shortstop Javier Báez’s MLB-leading 21st error.

“I don’t think these guys have quit,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s just a challenge. You got to be ready to hit. … I think the discouraging part is when there’s little to no offense. There’s just not a lot going on the offensive side. The further you fall behind, the worse it gets.”

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The Tigers (50-81) — in their 18th shutout loss — recorded hits on Báez’s single in the first inning, a pair of Greene singles in the third and ninth innings and Harold Castro’s two-out single in the ninth. Tucker Barnhart drew a leadoff walk in the third.

“It’s only that many? It’s not higher? Feels like it’s higher,” Barnhart said of the Tigers’ 18th shutout, the most in the majors this season. “It’s frustrating. Playing from behind is tough. It’s just been a year of frustration across the board.”

In his 27th start this season, Gilbert allowed two hits and one walk with nine strikeouts to carry the Mariners.

He threw 65% fastballs and generated 17 swings and misses (10 with his fastball). The 2018 No. 14 overall pick lowered his ERA to 3.35 and continues to dominate in his second MLB campaign.

“He’s really good, but you got to control the fastball at this level,” Hinch said. “We’re not a good fastball hitting team.”

Rodriguez vs. Rodríguez

For the Tigers, though, Rodriguez allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts, throwing 57 of 92 pitches for strikes. He gave up one run in the first inning, two runs in the third and three runs in the fourth.

Eight of the 21 batters he faced ended up in three-ball counts.

“I feel like my command was all over the place, and they took advantage of it,” Rodriguez said. “I had a lot of counts that went 0-2 and then 3-2. That’s something that can’t happen during the game, especially as a starter.”

Rodriguez started the game by walking Julio Rodríguez on six pitches. The Mariners’ Rodríguez, a rookie and an All-Star at just 21, advanced to second on a fielding error by third baseman Jeimer Candelario. He scored on ex-Tiger Eugenio Suarez’s RBI single.

In the third, Rodríguez and Ty France crushed back-to-back solo home runs for a 3-0 advantage. Rodríguez has 22 homers this season.

“We’ve got to counter that,” Hinch said. “It’s a competition. It’s not just conceding and hat-tipping to the other side and getting to the next game. There’s a real competition going on out there, and if that’s what they’re going to bring to our ballpark, you want to counterpunch.”

To begin the fourth, Eduardo Rodriguez walked the leadoff hitter to put himself in a hole. A two-RBI double from Curt Casali and RBI single from France tacked on Seattle’s fourth, fifth and sixth runs. Rodriguez completed the fourth but needed 31 pitches to do so.

He also threw 30 pitches in the first, 19 in the second and 12 in the third.

For his 92 pitches, Rodriguez used 34 four-seam fastballs (37%), 27 cutters (29%), 18 sinkers (20%), eight changeups (9%) and five sliders (5%). He recorded six swings and misses — three four-seamers, one cutter, two sinkers — and 12 called strikes.

“I thought the line was worse than the way he threw,” Barnhart said.

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Taking the Hill

After Rodriguez, right-hander Garrett Hill pitched three scoreless innings on 44 pitches. He has thrown six scoreless innings in two appearances combined since transitioning from the rotation to the bullpen.

Left-hander Andrew Chafin completed a scoreless eighth inning, but righty Jose Cisnero created trouble for himself in the ninth. He allowed three singles — Jake Lamb, Mitch Haniger and Suarez — to load the bases with two outs.

He then walked Abraham Toro to push home Seattle’s seventh run.

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