Detroit — If the crowd at Comerica Park had heard the official scorer’s announcement in the press box, it would have collectively winced.
But whether hearing it, or just watching the game unfold, the Tigers’ 11-4 loss on Tuesday night to the Chicago White Sox was one of the more painful.
Because their big bullpen addition didn’t just struggle. He imploded.
“Here’s the line on Joakim Sora,” scorer Chuck Klonke announced, “one-third of an inning, six hits, four runs, four earned runs, two home runs.”
Worse, in other words, than simply not good.
Worse, in fact, than bad.
“Probably one of the worst outing of my career,” Soria said.
That’s two rough outings in a row for the highly touted newcomer. Neither one has gone the way the Tigers would have wanted.
Or the way they thought it would go when they traded pitching prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson for Soria.
In 2⁄3 inning, he has allowed five runs, four earned, on eight hits.
And after not allowing a home run in 35 appearances for the Texas Rangers this season, Soria allowed back-to-back home runs in the seventh to Jose Abreu and Adam Dunn.
By the way, that was the seven-run seventh for the White Sox — an inning that turned a tie game into a rout for the Sox.
“It was a good game until then,” said manager Brad Ausmus, “but the seventh was ugly.”
The Tigers led this one 2-0 after the third. It was tied 2-2 through the sixth. But it came apart, not just for Soria, but for losing pitcher Anibal Sanchez (7-5) as well.
It’s not the first time Sanchez has hit a wall this season. His seventh-inning ERA is 14.73 with an opponents’ batting average of .405.
Of Sanchez, Ausmus said “I thought he threw the ball well. He was aggressive, went after hitters. But the deeper you get in the game as a starting pitcher, the more likely you’ll be taken out.”
With the Tigers making two errors in Chicago’s seven-run seventh, though, Sanchez didn’t get much defensive help this time.
After a leadoff single by Conor Gillaspie, Miguel Cabrera butchered Gordon Beckham’s routine grounder to third. It might have been hit too slowly for Cabrera to start a double play, but he would have gotten the inning’s first out at second.
Cabrera was at third because Nick Castellanos was a pregame scratch after taking a ground ball off his right index finger during batting practice.
The Tigers are calling it a contusion and Castellanos is listed as day-to-day — the same label being applied to shortstop Eugenio Suarez, who left this game in the fourth with lower back stiffness.
“Nick probably could have played if he was forced to,” said Ausmus, who’s not thinking either situation is serious.
One out after Cabrera’s error, Tyler Flowers single would have loaded the bases if Rajai Davis’ error in left hadn’t allowed Gillaspie to score.
The inning was a mess by then — with two Tigers’ errors and the White Sox looking like they might get more than a run.
They scored more than a run, all right. They scored seven.
Soria replaced Sanchez at that point — and faced seven batters. The first one singled to load the bases. The second, Alexei Ramirez, doubled to unload them.
Then came Abreu’s 31st home run.
Followed by Dunn’s 16th.
“We certainly haven’t seen the real Joakim Soria,” Ausmus said. “He missed over the plate, and they took advantage. But this is a very good relief pitcher.
“He’s a closer, and he’s having an outstanding year.”
After the only out Soria would get, he gave up two singles and was relieved by Ian Krol, who would get the third out of the seventh, but who also would give up a two-run double in the eighth to Abreu, who stretched his hitting streak to 18 games.
At that point, it was 11-2, but the Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the eighth.
No matter the final score, Soria’s home debut was the eye-opener.
And, yes, definitely something to wince about.
The loss dropped the Tigers’ home record to 26-26, a far cry from the 31-20 they are on the road.
Is the home record a concern?
“I would hope, when it’s all said and done, that we’re better than that for sure,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers had 12 hits, including a three-hit game for Victor Martinez and a pair of RBIs for catcher Bryan Holaday.
But between the bookends scoring the first and last two runs of the game, it was a miserable night for them.