Sinker a stinker for Tigers' Shane Greene

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News

Anaheim, Calif. — What to do with Shane Greene.

The Tigers don't have a lot of answers for how a right-handed starter who can look so good on so many occasions can, at various times, come apart, as happened on a historical level Saturday when Greene was bombed for five home runs in the first 1.2 innings in what became an 8-6 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

Not since 1914 had a big-league pitcher allowed so many home runs in so few innings.

The Tigers had no answers. They still don't, although manager Brad Ausmus had one theory Sunday.

"He's a sinker-baller, and at the beginning of the game sometimes they can be too strong," said Ausmus, reflecting on a pitcher whose ERA now sits at a garish 5.19.

Greene allowed two home runs in the first, then two more homers as the Angels began their half of the second inning. He completed the quinella when Albert Pujols drove a pitch far and deep beyond the left-field wall.

The pitches, by all accounts, were simply "up and middle" as Ausmus noted.

And that's not where big league pitchers can make a living.

Greene afterward was unemotional as he talked about a nightmare of a night that joined him with Don Mossi (1961) and Jeff Weaver (1999) as the only Tigers pitchers in history to have allowed five home runs in a game.

"Sometimes they're pop-ups, and sometimes they're home runs," Greene said of his pitches that didn't bother with goodbyes as they left the ballpark.

"Tonight, they were home runs."