Manning K’s four in gutsy outing vs. Rangers

Detroit Tigers

ARLINGTON — Matt Manning dazzled in his gutsy outing against the hard-hitting Rangers, but the bullpen faltered late in the Tigers’ 8-3 loss at Globe Life Field.

Manning, 25, had not pitched in the Majors since April as he recovered from a fracture in his right foot, but looked sharp in his return to big league action. Through the first five innings, the right-hander negated the Rangers offense, holding them scoreless and striking out four batters.

“I was glad to have him back,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “There was some good and some [moments where he battled]. He still sprayed the ball quite a bit, but seemingly stayed in there and hung in there the best he could.

“We got his pitch count up as best we could. [Tonight’s start] is something for him to build on.”

Although he limited the Rangers offense to just three hits, Manning struggled with his command throughout his 5 2/3 innings and walked four batters. In the bottom of the sixth inning, his pitch placement was once again an issue, as he walked the leadoff batter and plunked Adolis García with a pitch in back-to-back at-bats.

Clinging to a 2-0 lead, Manning forced a Jonah Heim groundout before facing his final batter, Robbie Grossman, who hit a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to one run.

Manning’s final pitch was a 97 mph fastball, proving that the hard-throwing right-hander’s velocity can hold up over the course of a full outing.

“I think I had pretty good velocity the whole time,” Manning said. “I’m trying to get those bullets more consistently. I knew it was getting close to the end of my outing so I just let it eat. I let it all out and just left everything on the field.”

After Manning was removed in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Tigers pitching staff struggled as the Rangers offense began to feast on a taxed Detroit bullpen that has logged the second-most innings this season entering the night.

Chasen Shreve, who relieved Manning, threw a wild pitch and yielded a run on three hits in the sixth.

A couple of innings later, with the ballgame tied at 3 to begin the bottom of the eighth inning, things continued to unravel for Detroit, as the Tigers surrendered five runs in the frame.

Ezequiel Duran got things started with a one-out, second-deck home run off of Brendan White to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

Following a Marcus Semien single a couple of at-bats later, Corey Seager smacked a double off the wall in left-center to bring Semien home and extend the lead to two. Nathaniel Lowe quickly drove in Seager in the next-bat with a sharp single to center field before García put the proverbial nail in the Tigers’ coffin with a thunderous two-run home run to straightaway center field.

The Tigers are now 3-4 in their last seven games, alternating wins and losses, but are 7-5 in their last 12 games after a 1-11 span to open the month of June.

Despite the up-and-down stretch, the Tigers remain in striking distance of the division lead and are just 4 1/2 games out of first place in the AL Central.

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