July 6, 2014 at 1:00 am

Rays 7, Tigers 3

Rick Porcello stumbles as Tigers drop third straight to Rays

Detroit — Sunday looked to be a day of possibilities for Rick Porcello. The Tigers starter was waiting to find out if he’d been selected to the All-Star team for the first time and he was riding a 25-inning scoreless streak, with back-to-back complete-game shutouts.

The day began better than it ended, as Porcello was left off the American League All-Star roster — at least for now — and had one of his worst outings of the season.

The Rays snapped Porcello’s scoreless streak in the first inning and cruised to a 7-3 win over the Tigers on Sunday night at Comerica Park. It’s the third straight loss for the Tigers, who have Monday off before hosting the Dodgers for a two-game series.

Porcello (11-5) tied his season high, allowing seven earned runs, and was one shy of his season high, with 11 hits allowed. He’s part of the All-Star Final Vote to get the last spot on the All-Star team and had a chance to make an impression with his outing as the featured game for the national television audience on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

“It’s certainly not indicative of the type of pitcher Rick is,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “The last couple starts were outstanding; it just so happened timing-wise it wasn’t great for him, but he certainly deserves to be an All-Star.”

After consecutive shutouts, Porcello wasn’t quite as sharp, giving up a leadoff double to Desmond Jennings, who scored on an RBI single by Ben Zobrist. Matt Joyce made it 3-0 with a two-run home run.

“I was falling behind guys and I didn’t stay down in the zone well at all,” said Porcello, who lost for the first time since June 9. “I fell behind Joyce 2-1 and got into a fastball count and tried to come in with a sinker and it was right back over the middle of the plate.

“I wasn’t sharp early and obviously in the later innings lost it again.”

Rays starter David Price (8-7) — who was selected to the All-Star team as a reserve — stifled the Tigers, going 823 innings before giving up back-to-back two-out walks to Bryan Holaday and Eugenio Suarez in the ninth. Jake McGee finished the game by striking out Austin Jackson.

“He was pounding the strike zone and he made us swing the bat. We hit the ball hard and we only had six hits to show for it. We hit the ball pretty hard, but no luck,” Torii Hunter said. “You have to change your approach because he’s coming after you. You have to be aggressive that day because if you don’t, you’ll be 0-2 and battling something nasty.”

The Tigers cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the first, with a leadoff double by Rajai Davis, who moved to third on a grounder; Davis scored on Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly.

“It’s tough; when they get a lead like that, we know it’s going to be come back against a guy like Price but again, we continued to have good at-bats,” Ausmus said.

Porcello settled down and allowed just one base runner over the next three innings but the Rays added another run in the fifth before breaking the game open with a three-run sixth.

Sean Rodriguez and Jose Molina had one-out singles and Rodriguez scored on Kevin Kiermaier’s fielder’s choice. Jennings capped it with a two-run home run to push the Rays’ lead to 7-1.

The Rays finished with 19 hits.

Hunter hit a leadoff home run in the seventh to cut the deficit to five. He went 2-for-3 and improved to 8-for-22 (.364) against Price in his career. J.D. Martinez added a home run in the ninth, his 12th of the season, to make it 7-3.

The Tigers bullpen gave up eight hits but no runs in three-plus innings, with Al Alburquerque and Joe Nathan each going and inning, with two strikeouts.


Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello sits in the dugout after being taken out of the game in the sixth inning Sunday night at Comerica Park in Detroit. / Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News