Tigers can't back Lobstein in loss
Detroit — Brad Aumus said it last week. Results don't always determine whether you made a good decision or not.
By all measures, Ausmus acted judiciously in the seventh inning of a 2-2 Monday. His choice was to leave left-handed starter Kyle Lobstein in to face right-handed hitting Carlos Gomez, or bring in right-hander Angel Nesbitt.
Armed with compelling data, and a nudge from pitching coach Jeff Jones, he stuck with Lobstein.
Good decision, perhaps, but a bad result for the home team. Gomez broke a 2-2 tie with a single and the lowly Brewers took the first game of a three-game series, 3-2.
"The pitching was good," Ausmus said. "We just couldn't muster any runs. We eked out a couple runs tonight, but, you know, generally two runs isn't going to be enough."
Lobstein was at 100 pitches when Gomez stepped up. After the Tigers botched a double-play ball, the Brewers had runners on first and second with two out.
Gomez, though he homered off Lobstein to start the game, was hitting .200 against left-handed pitching and nearly 100 points higher against right-handers.
"That was part of it, but it was also about the last couple of at-bats Gomez had against Lobstein," Ausmus said. "After the home-run ball, the next two at-bats he handled him pretty well."
Gomez had struck out and grounded out meekly in his previous two at-bats.
"One hundred pitches is not a ceiling for a major-league pitcher," Ausmus said. "It's probably about the time you start to think about getting people ready in the 'pen."
But Gomez drove a single up the middle. Anthony Gose's throw was up the line on the third base side but catcher James McCann nearly made a remarkable catch and tag. He just missed the sliding Luis Sardinas.
"I honestly didn't realize until I came out of the game how many pitches I'd thrown — I still felt good in that inning," said Lobstein, who allowed seven hits (three in the seventh) and induced 13 ground-ball outs. "I think I made the right pitch there, it was just a matter of executing it."
The inning could have been worse. With Nesbitt pitching, Gose made a sensational run-saving diving catch of blooper by Khris Davis.
"Lobber did a great job," Ausmus said. "He gave up a couple of home runs (to Gomez and Aramis Ramirez), but other than those two home runs, there wasn't a lot of hard-hit balls."
The problem for the Tigers, they weren't hitting much hard against starter Mike Fiers or three Brewers relievers.
"We weren't able to score," Kinsler said. "Kyle pitched a great game, the bullpen helped keep it as close as they could. Offensively, we just didn't get it done tonight."
The Tigers missed a chance to break the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth. J.D. Martinez, who had two hits off Fiers, his old college teammate, doubled with two outs, sending Cabrera to third.
The Brewers brought in fire-balling reliever Jeremy Jeffress who struck out Rajai Davis to end the threat.
Victor Martinez, who went 0-for-4, hit into a double play to kill a potential rally in the eighth and Yoenis Cespedes, pinch-hitting, did the same in the ninth.
The Tigers played small-ball to get their two runs.
Gose singled in the first, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Kinsler.
In the second, Davis doubled with one out and stole third. With two out, McCann dropped a perfect bunt down the third base line for an RBI single.