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Tigers terrible, earn Ausmus’ ire: ‘I don’t like it’

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
Justin Upton looks up after striking out in the seventh inning. He had three more strikeouts to raise his season total to 30.

Detroit – Now, it’s serious.

The Tigers were embarrassed Saturday by the Indians in a 10-1 walloping at Comerica Park that led to a post-game team meeting and some apparently stern words from Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.

“There was discussion – let’s leave it at that,” Ausmus said after the Tigers had lost their third consecutive game in which they’ve scored a combined two runs.

“We got our (tails) kicked today and I don’t like it.”

On an otherwise lovely day flooded with sunshine, a crowd of 31,163 (tickets sold) witnessed a nine-inning rout in which neither the Tigers’ starting pitching nor their hitters were close to competitive.

Anibal Sanchez started for the Tigers and ignited a fire: a nine-hit, seven-run conflagration during a gruesome appearance that lasted only 2.1 innings.

BOX SCORE: Indians 10, Tigers 1

“I would like to give really good answers, but I don’t know, I can’t answer,” said Sanchez, speaking of his struggles and clearly as befuddled as the rest of a Tigers team that began smartly in April but has since dropped to 8-8.

Sanchez was joined Saturday by hitters who haven’t had many answers of late. The Tigers were shut out Thursday at Kansas City, got a single run Friday in the Indians series opener, and then scored a lone run Saturday when Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a supposed backup catcher, slammed his sixth homer this month.

Indians starter Corey Kluber, a past Cy Young Award winner, had been having earlier issues that gave way Saturday to some old-fashioned Kluber-style mastery.

In an eight-inning stint he allowed two hits, struck out 10, walked none, and confined any mistakes to a low, mid-plate fastball in the fifth that Saltalamacchia walloped deep into the right-field seats.

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The Tigers’ only other hit: a ground single to left in the second by J.D. Martinez.

Nothing changed for two Tigers hitters who have had particularly tough stretches: Miguel Cabrera, who was 0-for-3, despite nearly knocking shortstop Francisco Lindor into the outfield seats with a lightning-bolt ground ball in the seventh; and left-fielder Justin Upton, who struck out three times in three at-bats.

“It’s clearly something with my timing or mechanical,” said Upton, who is batting .217, with 30 strikeouts in 16 games. “It’s just not clicking right now.”

Which, as a manager and his players understand, might be said for an entire Tigers team.

lynn.henning@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Lynn_Henning