Cincinnati — The Tigers took out a weekend of frustration in one inning against a rookie pitcher. Unfortunately for them they had another eight innings to play.
Cincinnati snapped its nine-game losing streak by scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to erase the Tigers' 5-0 lead and send them to a fourth consecutive loss, 12-5, Monday night at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds sent 14 batters to the plate against four different Tigers pitchers as they produced double-digits in an inning for the first time in 10 years.
J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos hit home runs as the Tigers scored four times off of Reds rookie Keyvius Sampson in the first inning but Buck Farmer tired in the sixth inning and relievers Al Alburquerque, Tom Gorzelanny and Neftali Feliz did nothing to stop the Cincinnati onslaught.
Former Tigers shortstop Eugenio Suarez homered and doubled in the rally, while second baseman Brandon Phillips hit a two-run home run and two-run triple in the frame.
"It put a pep in our step and everybody was feeling confident," said Martinez of the early outburst and lead. "Throughout the game we had chances to score runs and we didn't. It wasn't like our offense stopped after that, but unfortunately they had that one great inning."
Farmer, making his first start since July 31, didn't allow his first hit until one out in the fifth inning when Jason Bourgeois singled sharply to right center. He got out of that inning unscathed and retired Skip Schumaker to begin the sixth.
That's when the things went awry for the rookie. Suarez hit a solo home run, his ninth of the season, to get the Reds on the board. Phillips followed a walk to Joey Votto with a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 5-3. That was the end of the night for Farmer.
Alburquerque entered and gave up an infield single to Todd Frazier, an RBI double to Jay Bruce and walked Bourgeois. Gorzelanny walked catcher Tucker Barnhart, the only batter he faced.
Feliz struck out pinch-hitter Ivan De Jesus Jr. for the second out and end a string of seven consecutive Reds to reach base. He had two strikes on Schumaker but gave up a flare single to center that scored two runs and put the Reds in front, 6-5.
Suarez added a two-run bloop double and Phillips tripled in two more before Feliz got Frazier to pop out to Castellanos at third base to end the inning.
"You just keep trying to execute," catcher Alex Avila said. "For the most part I thought we put ourselves in that position, we were executing our pitches to get ourselves out, but when you make your pitch and induce weak contact more times than not you're going to get the out but this time it didn't happen."
It was the most runs allowed by the Tigers in an inning this season and the most since April 28, 2009, when the Yankees scored 10 times in the seventh inning of an 11-0 win.
"(Farmer) got a couple of balls up and they jumped on him and they hit a couple of home runs," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Overall he did a pretty good job, but we didn't do much of a good job pitching after that."
The game was a makeup contest from a rainout on June 18. The Tigers were 34-32 then, in third place and five games out of first in the AL Central. They're still in third place in the division, but are now six games under .500 (59-65) and 17 games behind front-running Kansas City. They return home Tuesday to begin a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Tigers scored just five runs in losing the final three games of their four-game series against Texas over the weekend. They nearly matched that in the first inning against Sampson when Martinez hit his 33rd home run of the season, a three-run shot to center field, and Castellanos added a solo homer to left field. It was his 14th homer of the season. They added their fifth run in the fourth inning on an RBI double by Miguel Cabrera.
Cabrera had two hits and three total bases in the game, raising his career total to 4,040 and passing Andres Galarraga for most bases by a Venezuelan-born player.
Farmer received a no-decision in his last start, an 8-7 loss at Baltimore. He went just 4⅓ innings in that game, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits. He had made four relief appearances since, allowing six runs on eight hits in 6 ⅔ innings.
He was much better Monday night but, as has been the case with most things the Tigers are doing these days, it really didn't matter.
"I had some success and everything was going good," Farmer said. "We were hitting the ball, our defense was good, everything. Then just in that one inning everything kind of fell into place for them."
Kevin Goheen is a freelance writer