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Live Tigers blog: Tigers swept by Rays with 8-1 loss

Al Willman
The Detroit News

After some late-inning dramatics last night, the Tigers were out of Thursday's 8-1 loss to the Rays early.

The Tigers got a leadoff home run from Ian Kinsler, but little else. The Rays scored three times in the second inning, once in the fifth and seventh and twice more in the eighth.

Daniel Norris (1-1) took the loss for the Tigers (8-7). He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits, while striking out four and walking two.

Nicholas Castellanos reached four times for the Tigers. He had three singles and a walk.

Erasmo Ramirez (2-0) got the spot-start for the Rays (9-8), going five innings and giving up just one run on two hits, while striking out five and walking nobody.

Castellanos' single in the ninth, followed by one from James McCann two batters later, represented an attempt at a rally that was snuffed out by Rays reliever Tommy Hunter, who pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Tigers wrap up their three-city, nine-game road trip with a weekend series in Minneapolis. Justin Verlander (1-1, 5.71 ERA) will get the start in tomorrow's 8:10 opener against the Twins, while Hector Santiago (1-1, 1.47 ERA) will go for the Minnesota.

Rays go deep twice in 8th

Things are looking awfully bleak for the Tigers.

Warwick Saupold gave up a pair of home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning -- both solo homers -- to make the Tigers deficit even larger.

The first one, of the leadoff variety, was hit by Daniel Robertson -- his first-career home run -- to make it 7-1. Then, Steven Souza Jr. hit a line drive to left field, not far from where Ian Kinsler's went in the first inning, to make it 8-1.

The Tigers are down to their last three outs.

Tigers put two on in 8th, strand them

The Tigers had the makings of a rally in the top of the eighth, putting two runners on for the first time of the afternoon.

Dixon Machado got his first hit of the season -- a two-out single -- before Ian Kinsler walked, putting runners at first and second.

Then, Tyler Collins struck out looking to end the half inning, and the rally.

Going to the bottom of the eighth, the Tigers are down 6-1.

Rays add to lead in 7th

Kevin Kiermaier's solo home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning added to the lead for the Rays.

Kiermaier sent Warwick Saupold's 0-1 pitch over the wall in straightaway center field, to make it 6-1.

Saupold got Evan Longoria to fly out to a leaping JaCoby Jones in left center field for the first out, before hitting Rickie Weeks. He then got the next two Rays in order to end the inning.

7th-inning stretch: Rays 5, Tigers 1

Very little has gone right for the Tigers so far.

After six and a half innings, the Rays lead 5-1.

Nicholas Castellanos drew a one-out walk for the Tigers in the top of the seventh, but was stranded. He's reached twice for the Tigers, after hitting a single in the top of the fourth -- accounting for 2/3's of the Tigers baserunning so far.

Saupold throws 1-2-3 6th

Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold, in his first full inning of work, set the Rays down in order.

Even after six innings, the game is far from over. The Tigers and Rays, including last night's finish, are no stranger to late-inning dramatics.

For now, the Tigers are down 5-1. They'll send Miguel Cabrera, Nicholas Castellanos and Alex Avila to the plate to start the seventh.

Tigers trail 5-1 in 6th

Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Tigers went down 1-2-3.

The Rays turned to right-handed reliever Chase Whitley in the top of the sixth, replacing spot-starter Erasmo Ramirez, who threw a gem. In five innings, Ramirez gave up a run on two hits while striking out five and walking nobody, while throwing 66 pitches.

Against Whitley, the Tigers got their hardest hit ball from Tyler Collins, who flew out to center field to end the half inning.

Going to the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers are down 5-1.

Rays get run in 5th

The Rays added a run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

With one out, Daniel Norris issued his first walk of the game, to Rickie Weeks. The next batter, Brad Miller, doubled to put runners and second and third. Then, Tim Beckham hit into a fielder's choice to score Weeks. After Norris walked Daniel Robertson, he was lifted for Warwick Saupold.

With Jesus Sucre at the plate, Saupold threw a wild pitch that got past James McCann, who was able to flip the ball to Saupold covering home to get Miller to end the inning.

After five, the Rays are up 5-1.

Tigers go in order again in 5th

The Tigers have sent 23 batters to the plate through five innings.

They have two hits to show for it.

One was Ian Kinsler's home run to lead off the game. The second was a single from Nicholas Castellanos in the top of the fourth.

In the second, third and now fifth, the Tigers have gone down 1-2-3 against Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez, starting only because of an injury to Jake Odorizzi.

Going to the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers are down 4-1.

Norris strands one in 4th

Tigers starter Daniel Norris worked his second consecutive scoreless inning in the bottom of the fourth.

The Rays got a leadoff single from Jesus Sucre, who was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Peter Bourjos. Norris then got Steven Souza Jr. (center field) and Kevin Kiermaier (left field) to fly out to end the inning.

After four, the Rays still have a 4-1 lead.

Tigers get hit, strand it

With two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Nicholas Castellanos got the first hit for the Tigers since Ian Kinsler's home run to lead off the game -- a single past a diving Daniel Robertson at third base.

However, Castellanos was stranded when Alex Avila flew out to the warning track in center field to end the half inning.

Going to the bottom of the fourth, the Tigers are still down 4-1.

Norris bounces back in 3rd

Daniel Norris, minus the three-run second inning, has looked good against the Rays.

He threw a perfect bottom of the third inning -- his first 1-2-3 frame of the afternoon.

After three innings, the Tigers trail 4-1 and will send Tyler Collins, Miguel Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos to the plate.

Tigers set down again in 3rd

The Tigers, after Ian Kinsler's lead off home run, have not had a baserunner.

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez set Detroit down in order for the second consecutive inning, retiring the ninth batter in a row, in the third.

Through three, Ramirez has thrown only 38 pitches.

The Tigers are down 4-1.

Rays add 3 in 2nd

The wheels haven't come off for the Tigers yet, after two innings, but the lug nuts are loose.

The Rays, who sent eight to the plate, scored three times with two outs -- including twice on a triple that ate up Tyler Collins in right field -- to take a three-run lead.

Tigers right fielder Tyler Collins misplays a double by the Tampa Bay Rays' Steven Souza Jr. during the first inning Thursday in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tim Beckham led off the bottom of the second with a single, before being wiped out on a fielder's choice off the bat of Daniel Robertson. After Jesus Sucre struck out swinging for the second out, things got dicey.

Peter Bourjos singled, moving Robertson to third. Then, Steven Souza Jr. tripled on a ball that bounced over the head of Collins, scoring Robertson and Bourjos. Kevin Kiermaier then singled on a 3-2 pitch that scored Souza, before Evan Longoria singled to put two on. Rickie Weeks struck out swinging to end the inning.

The Tigers are down 4-1 after two.

Tigers go 1-2-3 in 2nd

Rays starter Erasmo Ramirez, usually a bullpen arm, is presumed to be on a pitch count of 75-80 pitches.

You wouldn't know it with the way the Tigers are working their at-bats.

Ramirez worked a 13-pitch top of the second inning, retiring the Tigers in order.

Through two, Ramirez has thrown 28 pitches. The game is tied at 1 going to the bottom of the second.

Rays tie game in 1st

The Rays played a bit of small ball in the bottom of the first inning.

After Steven Souza Jr. doubled to lead off the frame, Kevin Kiermaier's sacrifice bunt moved him to third. Two batters later, with two outs, Rickie Weeks reached safely on a throwing error from shortstop Dixon Machado, scoring Souza.

After one, the game is tied at 1.

Kinsler smacks solo shot

The Tigers got a leadoff home run from Ian Kinsler, who sent an 0-2 pitch from Rays reliever-turned-starter Erasmo Ramirez over the wall near the foul pole in left field.

Ramirez set the Tigers down in order after that, getting Tyler Collins to fly out to center field, before Miguel Cabrera grounded out to third and Nicholas Castellanos struck out swinging.

The Tigers have an early 1-0 lead.

Live blog: Tigers vs. Rays

The Tigers left Cleveland last weekend on a high, taking two of three from the defending American League champions.

What a difference a few days make.

The Tigers are turning to left-hander Daniel Norris to supply another solid start in hopes of avoiding a three-game sweep against the Rays on Thursday. First pitch at Tropicana Field is at 1:10 p.m.

Norris is coming off six shutout innings against the Indians last week in a 7-6 victory, a game the bullpen nearly squandered. The bullpen was only part of the problem Wednesday night, which included a bevy of gaffes in an 8-7 loss.

In Thursday's series finale, The Tigers will be without shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was injured in the game-deciding play Wednesday night.

TIGERS AT RAYS

First pitch: 1:10 p.m. Thursday, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.

TV/radio: FSD/97.1

Records: Tigers are 8-6, first place in American League Central Division, one game ahead of Indians, Royals, White Sox and Twins; Rays are 8-8, fourth place in the American League East, 2.5 games behind the Orioles.

TIGERS LINEUP

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. Tyler Collins, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, DH

4. Nick Castellanos, 3B

5. Alex Avila, 1B

6. James McCann, C

7. Andrew Romine, LF

8. JaCoby Jones, CF

9. Dixon Machado, SS

SP: Daniel Norris, LHP

RAYS LINEUP

1. Steven Souza Jr., RF

2. Kevin Kiermaier, CF

3. Evan Longoria, 3B

4. Rickie Weeks, 1B

5. Brad Miller, 2B

6. Tim Beckham, SS

7. Daniel Robertson, 3B

8. Jesus Sucre, C

9. Peter Bourjos, LF

SP: Erasmo Ramirez, RHP