Ausmus running out of options in bullpen
Detroit — For the first time in five games, the Tigers starting pitcher got through the seventh inning. David Price, who pitched seven innings his previous start, pitched into the ninth Thursday.
Finally a respite for an overworked bullpen?
Nope. Extra innings. Manager Brad Ausmus had to use five relievers.
So, no surprise he got a little testy when asked why he allowed lefty Ian Krol to start the 12th when the first two hitters were right-handed — Chris Taylor and Mike Zunino.
“Because I’m running out of pitching,” he said. “It’s two guys hitting under .200, we should be able to get them out, simple as that.”
Didn’t happen. Taylor, hitting .173, singled and Zunino, .169, doubled in the winning run.
“(Al) Alburquerque (who had pitched four straight games) couldn’t throw,” Ausmus said. “Blaine Hardy, I didn’t want to use even though I had to get him up. We’re stretched thin.
“We finally get a guy to go deep in the game and we go extra innings. I don’t know if you think I have a bevy of arms down there all named Mariano Rivera. That’s not how it works.”
Alex Wilson, who finished the 12th, pitched for the third time in four days.
Entering Thursday, the bullpen had thrown 20.1 innings in the homestand.
Ausmus sent Price back out in the ninth, even though he was at 114 pitches, just to face left-handed hitting Kyle Seager.
“Mainly because I didn’t have Hardy and I wanted to keep (closer Joakim) Soria’s pitch count down,” he said. “He threw 30 pitches yesterday. So if Price can get Seager, we can hopefully keep Soria’s pitch count down and still have him (today).”
Didn’t happen. Seager doubled and Soria needed 16 pitches to get through the ninth.
The Tigers had two potential winning runs cut down at second base — Rajai Davis was caught stealing in the ninth and Anthony Gose was out trying to advance on a ball in the dirt in the 11th.
The Mariners correctly guessed Davis was running and pitched out.
“Davis is an excellent base stealer,” Ausmus said. “They’re both on their own. Gose said he was not running, actually, he was going on the ball in the dirt and the catcher just caught it, so that’s a different animal.
“Davis has the green light. He’s generally an excellent base stealer and that’s probably the reason we have him. Sometimes you’ve got to take a chance. He’s as good as there is, really.”
Around the horn
It looked as if perhaps Price was a little miffed when Ausmus pulled him in the ninth inning. He didn’t wait for Ausmus to get all the way to the mound and walked right past him without acknowledgement.
“He just didn’t have the ball,” Ausmus explained. “He said, ‘I don’t have the ball.’ That’s all he said. Nick (Castellanos) had the ball. Usually the pitcher hands you the ball, he just didn’t have the ball.”
... Right-fielder J.D. Martinez threw out Nelson Cruz trying to stretch a single into a double in the fourth inning.
Martinez made a good play to cut the ball off in the gap then threw off-balance to cutoff man Ian Kinsler. Kinsler threw to Jose Iglesias at second to nab Cruz.
It was Martinez’s 12th assist, tied for the most in the American League and the most by a Tigers outfielder since Craig Monroe had 12 in 2006.
... Ausmus said left-handed starter Kyle Lobstein (shoulder) threw a bullpen session in Lakeland, Fla., on Tuesday and had no negative side effects Wednesday. He is in the early stages of trying to build his arm strength back up.
... The home run by Seager off Price in the first inning was the 20th off Tigers starters this month.