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Greene tries to stay positive after another rough start

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — After a lackluster start in his first outing since he returned from a stint at Triple-A Toledo, Shane Greene was looking for a big step up in his pitching that could help the Tigers.

He allowed seven runs on seven hits in 4-2/3 innings on July 12 against the Minnesota Twins.

It didn’t take long during Tuesday’s 11-9 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park to see that Greene still has work to do. He gave up four runs in the first inning, including an RBI single by Robinson Cano and an RBI double to Seth Smith to start the scoring.

“I got a couple balls that got through and I made a couple mistakes that I paid for,” Greene explained. “The results aren’t there but I don’t feel like myself either, so I have to keep working.

“I’ve obviously been a little bit off all year and we keep working in bullpen sessions and I’m making strides but I’m still not there.”

After the disastrous 26-pitch first inning, Greene settled down and got through a 1-2-3 second inning with only 11 pitches. But as he got back to the middle of the order, he ran into more trouble, not being able to control his sinker.

“I would say that’s true,” manager Brad Ausmus said, in a quick postgame assessment of Greene’s control problems.

Greene gave up a leadoff home run to Nelson Cruz in the third inning and walked Cano before getting out of the inning. That started a string of eight straight outs for Greene, who almost got through the fifth inning before allowing a two-out double to Cano and an intentional walk to Smith, which ended his outing at 84 pitches.

Greene hasn’t lasted past the sixth inning in a start since May 20 — and the Tigers have lost the last six games that he has started, dating to that outing.

But Greene is looking to take something out of the string of eight straight outs that he recorded and wants to build on that small success.

“I kept attacking. I believe in myself and I believe in the process,” he said. “My slider felt pretty good, especially in the first inning. I went back and watched video and I felt like I had some good downward angle, which I’ve been lacking.

“I have to keep working and get another five days.”

In his outing, Green allowed five earned runs on six hits, with two walks and a strikeout. It’s the sixth straight time this season that he’s allowed four or more earned runs, along with a stretch of three games in late April and early May, after he won his first three starts.

In another subpar outing, Greene said he didn’t feel any added pressure because the Tigers are gauging whether they can stay in the playoff race with the present roster.

Rod.Beard@detroitnews.com

Twitter.com/detnewsRodBeard