Oakland, Calif. — One glance at Shane Greene's postgame posture and you knew this conversation would be brief.
And it was.
Greene sat in front of his locker, head cradled in his hands, following Monday's game, in which the A's blitzed the Tigers, 4-0, at O.co Coliseum, and sacked the Tigers starter with his third loss of the season.
When he agreed a couple of minutes later to "talk" with the media, his words were confined to a few brief repeat sentences.
"I have to pitch better."
"I gave up four runs."
"I have to be better."
Greene was taking the fall, but he knew his defense, which was minus starting shortstop Jose Iglesias, had forced him Monday to get too many extra outs.
It was particularly tough in the A's four-run sixth. Marcus Semien's leadoff infield hit (Iglesias probably would have made the play), and Billy Butler's grounder into the hole that Machado couldn't turn into a force-out at second, were moments at least as big as the single to right by Josh Reddick and the double up the right-center field alley by Max Muncy, which were part of a four-hit, four-run burst.
It ended what otherwise had been a splendid stretch of pitching by Greene. He had only allowed three singles through five innings. Greene had been particularly tough in the fifth after a single, and Machado's bobble of an Ian Kinsler toss to the bag on what should have been a force-out, obliged Greene to strike out Eric Sogard and put away Billy Burns on a fly to left.
But he couldn't withstand the sixth.
And he didn't feel much like talking about it, not in any detail, afterward.
This wasn't the way a rookie wanted his first big-league appearance to unfold.
Dixon Machado had a forgettable day, offensively and defensively, as he filled in at shortstop for Iglesias, who has missed back-to-back games with a bruised knee.
He was 0-for-3 against A's starter Jesse Hahn. And in the field, where a man of Machado's acknowledged talents would be expected to flourish, he had a head-shaker, as well.
Machado dropped an abrupt relay throw from Kinsler in the fifth for an error the Tigers were lucky to have shaken off. In the sixth, he could not throw out Semien on a ground ball Iglesias normally turns into an out.
It was a similar story later in the sixth when Butler hit a ball into the hole for an infield single that Machado couldn't quite turn into a force-out at second.
"I feel bad about it," Machado said, speaking mostly of the dropped throw from Kinsler, but also about failing to throw out Semien.
"I feel like I can make that play every day. But I didn't.
"I know that won't happen again."
Ausmus said the botched relay, which came on a short, quick toss from Kinsler, was mostly due to unfamiliar timing. Two middle infielders had not previously played together.
On a Memorial Day known for rest and reflection, the Tigers followed suit, of sorts, as some high-profile regulars took a seat.
Miguel Cabrera got a day of rest because of an ankle that had been "a bit cranky" in Ausmus' words. Cabrera had surgery on the ankle last autumn and Ausmus said the day off was discussed a few days ago with Cabrera.
Normally a left-side infielder, Perez replaced Cabrera at first and did not make Tigers fans forget about Cabrera. He was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and is now batting .074 on the season.
J.D. Martinez was in the lineup's No. 3 slot, as designated hitter.
The other change was at shortstop, where Machado subbed for Iglesias.
Yoenis Cespedes batted in the cleanup slot, followed by Tyler Collins (right field), Nick Castellanos, James McCann, Perez and Machado.
"The truth is, there's no good day to get Miggy out of the lineup," Ausmus said, "but you have to do it."
The day-to-day vigil continues. Iglesias is getting better, he said after Monday's game, but his bruised knee was still too stiff and sore to permit a starts.
Ausmus isn't sure when his hot-hitting shortstop (.333) will return, but the layoff, he said, will be brief.
Bruce Rondon pitched Sunday for the Mud Hens during his rehabilitation tour at Triple A Toledo.
And all went well during a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 inning.
"He was throwing 97, 98, which is more indication that his arm feels good," Ausmus said.
Rondon, a 24-year-old right-hander who could be of immense value in the Tigers' back-end bullpen, is getting closer to throwing his first regular-season, big league pitch since September of 2013.
Rondon had Tommy John surgery 14 months ago. And then when it looked as if he was ready to give Tigers relievers a steel-belted boost, he developed biceps tendinitis at the end of spring camp.
Rondon will throw again Wednesday, and if all goes well, back-to-back appearances will be prescribed this weekend.
Tigers at A's
First pitch: 10:07 Tuesday, O.co Coliseum, Oakland, California
TV/radio: FSD/1270, 97.1
LHP David Price, Tigers
(3-1, 3.32): Always strong, it seems, and usually deep into games, Price is the kind of pitcher who is tough on a young team like the A's. He's probably the guy to stop a three-game skid, which the Tigers are banking on tonight.
RHP Jesse Chavez, A's (1-4, 2.89): Rough, tough young pitcher who figures to be rugged on the Tigers, given their frequent problems scoring runs. Nasty repertoire of power pitches, and throws plenty of strikes.