Crushing defeat difficult for Joakim Soria to handle

Tom Gage
The Detroit News


Baltimore — He wasn't the first to get up to speak in the silent clubhouse, but he was among the first.

The deciding hit of the Tigers 7-6 loss Friday in Game 2 of their American League Division Series against the Orioles was Delmon Young's three-run, pinch-hit double in the eighth inning off Joakim Soria.

Joba Chamberlain also played a major role in the four-run eighth inning, but the biggest hit was off Soria, whose Tigers career has been mostly known for an injury that cost him several weeks followed by his ineffectiveness in the playoffs.

That's why for several minutes, Soria sat and stared into the emptiness of his locker, his left arm draped over his head in what appeared to be an uncomfortable way, but his own comfort didn't seem to matter to him.

Then he got up and tried to make the best of a bad situation with the Tigers down 2-0 to the Orioles.

"We're still alive," he said. "We can go back and fight, that's the only thing we can do."

It was wondered if Soria simply is out of his element when not being used as a closer, but he didn't take the lifeline.

"I have to be ready for any situation, that's not an excuse," he said. "I have to be able to perform, get outs, and right now it's not happening."

Much to his chagrin.

But as quickly as the game of baseball can turn on a pitcher or player, it also can return to being in his corner.

"One day you come out, make a perfect pitch and they hit it," said Soria, who wasn't attempting to sell his slider to Young as a perfect pitch. "One day you make a mistake and it's a fly ball. You just have to go out there and keep trying, keep fighting."

At this point, though, the Tigers will take their chances with perfect pitches.

No real answers

Now that they've been hit hard in two consecutive games — "they" meaning Soria and Chamberlain — Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was asked where his confidence in Soria is at and whether other relievers could become part of the late mix at this point.

"I don't know that I necessarily have an answer for that," Ausmus said. "But if we have a lead in the eighth inning on Sunday, we're going to have to find somebody."

Davis hopes to play

Maybe the off day today will help — the Tigers hope it does — but Rajai Davis left Friday's game because of recurring tightness in the pelvic ligament that's been bothering him.

Davis was able to start in center, but came out for a pinch runner at first base (Ezequiel Carrera) in the fourth.

"He said it tightened up on him coming down the line out of the box," Ausmus said. "We will continue to treat him and hope he can play on Sunday."

Said Davis: "I gave it what I had, my best shot. But after resting up, I'll have high hopes for Sunday. I think the off day will help a lot.

Around the horn

Debunking an earlier story, ESPN reported on Friday that Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera will accept his playoff share, after all.

On Wednesday, Cabrera's temporary reluctance to sign the player's share sheet was taken to mean he wasn't going to sign it all, but a Major League Baseball Players Association source told ESPN he fully intends to.

... Why was Justin Verlander taken out after 101 pitches when he was just one batter into the sixth inning?

"We talked with him after he came out the previous inning and he said he was running low," Ausmus said. "With (Anibal) Sanchez, I didn't want to bring him into the middle of a briar patch. So I decided before the inning started that if the leadoff hitter got on, or any hitter got on during the course of the inning, I'd bring him in."

When Nelson Cruz led off with a single, Ausmus made the move.

... True to the biggest thing he's learned this year about bouncing back, J.D. Martinez hit a three-run home run after the Tigers lopsided loss Thursday.

"The one thing I've learned the most from all the veteran guys on this team, is not to dwell on a loss or bad day," he said. "There will be days when we get our face kicked in, but on the bus, the veteran guys will act like we never even lost. That's something I've really learned and picked up."

tom.gage@detroitnews.com

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