Tigers drop series opener to Rockies, 8-5

Detroit News

The Colorado Rockies only scored in two innings, but those eight runs which included a five-run second inning surge, were more than enough to take down the Detroit Tigers, 8-5, Friday night in the first game of a three-game series.

It was the first time in six years that the Tigers made the trip to Colorado, as there was talk about how the team would perform in the high altitude that Coors Field resides, but only two of the teams’ combined 20 hits went for extra bases. Both were home runs, one from each team.

BOX SCORE: Rockies 8, Tigers 5

In Game 81, the Tigers (35-46) continued their season-long woes with runners in scoring position, as they went 1-for-7 in those situations. Meanwhile, the Rockies (33-51) went 4-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

The Tigers faced Rockies starter Austin Gomber, who had struggled immensely over the season and entered the game with an ERA over 7. The Tigers allowed Gomber to go for his longest outing in the season — seven innings — and touched him for three runs.

“He can mix and match and throws different pitches, it looked like we had a really hard time with his breaking ball, he threw a few change-ups, hit some surprising fastballs. I think he was able to mix a little bit and get through some outs pretty quickly,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch told reporters after the game. “I think we had a hard time putting a lot of pressure on him to throw a lot of pitches and make their dugout have different decisions.”

Andy Ibáñez was a bright spot for the offense, as he went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in the eighth inning for his sixth of the year.

Spencer Torkelson didn’t have a performance as explosive as his two-homer outing Thursday against the Texas Rangers, but still went 1-for-4 and drove in a run on a groundout.

It didn’t take long for the Tigers to nick Gomber as Matt Vierling and Ibáñez hit hard singles to center field in the first inning, but were left stranded.

Meanwhile, former Tigers CJ Cron and Harold Castro helped the Rockies do damage in the bottom of the second inning, with Cron hitting the first of four straight singles against Tigers starter Michael Lorenzen. The last single was by Castro, a line drive to right field that brought Cron and Nolan Jones in for the first two runs of the game.

After a sacrifice bunt, Jurickson Profar ripped a hit down right field to bring another two runs across, putting the Rockies up 4-0 without a single out. Kris Bryant would ground into a double play, but another run would score, as Lorenzen would end the second with five earned runs and almost 50 pitches in the beginning stages.

“I thought I threw the ball actually really good, I thought I had really good stuff but really good and not getting results isn’t good enough, so I gotta figure out how to get results,” Lorenzen told reporters after the game. “The object of the game is to win the baseball game, and I need to keep the team in a position to be able to do that, allowing them (Rockies) to score five in one inning, it’s not good enough.”

Torkelson’s groundout that allowed Jake Marisnick to score brought the Tigers’ first run in the top of the third. Javier Báez and Jake Rogers then got a couple of singles to start out the top of the fourth, then Cabrera ripped a single past Castro to score Báez and move Rogers to third.

A wild pitch allowed Rogers to score and bring the Tigers to within two runs, but that was all the team could do against Gomber, who would go on to pitch three no-hit innings.

After Lorenzen left in his five innings of work, reliever Chasen Shreve came in and immediately walked Cron and gave up a single to Nolan Jones before Ezequiel Tovar elevated a first pitch splitter 382 feet to left field, extending the lead to 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth.

Torkelson got his only hit in the top of the eighth, which was followed by Ibáñez’s two-run bomb off Rockies reliever Jake Bird that brought the Tigers within 8-5, but that was as close as the Tigers could get as they couldn’t muster up a comeback.

The Tigers and Rockies return to action Saturday night in what’s expected to be a bullpen game.

Kameron Goodwill is a freelance writer.

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