A sluggish start for the Tigers’ offense was enough to do them in on Tuesday night at Comerica Park as they dropped the first in a three-game series with the Angels, 5-3.
The Angels took an early 1-0 lead on a Kole Calhoun home run, his ninth of the season, in the first inning. They tacked on three more runs before the Tigers could even crack the score column.
A sixth-inning threat made it a game again as the Tigers pulled within two, 4-2, but stranded runners at the corners with a Nick Castellanos groundout on the first pitch.
Jesse Chavez pitched a solid game for the Angels (30-31), going 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out four. He recorded his fifth win of the season.
Daniel Norris went six full inning for the Tigers (28-29), allowing three earned runs and five hits, but he struck out seven Angels.
Alex Avila blasted his ninth home run of the season in the sixth inning off Chavez. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez drove in the other two runs for the Tigers.
Angels closer Bud Norris recorded his 11th save of the season.
Michael Fulmer (6-3, 3.00 ERA) will get the nod for the Tigers on Wednesday and Alex Meyer (2-2, 4.91) will take the mound for the Angels.
Bottom 9th: Angels 5, Tigers 3
Angels closer Bud Norris came in for the save.
Justin Upton got things started with a fly out to deep right field. Nick Castellanos lined out to second for out No. 2.
Alex Presley kept the inning alive with a two-out single to left. Jose Iglesias hit a single through the left side of the infield, bringing the winning run to the plate. A wild pitch moved runners to second and third. Ian Kinsler then walked to load the bases.
Alex Avila struck out looking to end the game.
Top 9th: Angels 5, Tigers 3
Much to the chagrin of Tigers fans, Francisco Rodriguez entered the game to start the ninth.
Danny Espinosa grounded out to first, Eric Young Jr. then grounded out to second and Shane Robinson flew out to right field.
Bottom 8th: Angels 5, Tigers 3
Keynan Middleton entered the game in relief for the Angels.
Alex Avila kicked things off with a single up the middle, beating the shift. Miguel Cabrera then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
What looked to be a home run to right center by Victor Martinez died at the warning track for one out. Avila moved up to third. A J.D. Martinez sac fly then scored Avila.
Miguel Cabrera ended the inning with a major base-running gaffe. He tried taking second on a wild pitch, but it didn't get far enough away. He was thrown out at second.
Top 8th: Angels 5, Tigers 2
Arcenio Leon returned to the mound to start the eighth.
On just five pitches, Yunel Escobar walked. Coming off a two-run homer earlier, C.J. Cron grounded out to third, moving Escobar to second with one out. He attempted to steal third, but was subsequently thrown out.
Martin Maldonado ended the inning with a popout to right field.
Bottom 7th: Angels 5, Tigers 2
The Tigers went quickly, once again, in the seventh.
Alex Presley hit a soft liner to second for the first out, Jose Iglesias lined out to right and Ian Kinsler flew out to right center.
Top 7th: Angels 5, Tigers 2
Blaine Hardy entered the game for Daniel Norris.
Eric Young Jr. walked on four pitches. Shane Robinson then singled to center, moving Young Jr. to third with no outs. Andrelton Simmons squandered a scoring opportunity by popping up in the infield.
Kole Calhoun then hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Young Jr. and moving Robinson over to second.
Arcenio Leon relieved Hardy with two outs and got Albert Pujols to line out to short.
Bottom 6th: Angels 4, Tigers 2
Although Ian Kinsler grounded out to start the inning, the Tigers' offense began to heat up.
Alex Avila finally put the Tigers on the board with a one-out solo homer. Miguel Cabrera almost made it back-to-back homers, but flew out to the right field warning track for the second out. Victor Martinez hit a two-out double to the right field corner.
The Tigers were in business as J.D. Martinez hit a single to left and moved Victor over to third. Justin Upton lobbed a seeing-eyed single to center to plate Martinez and J.D. moved to third.
Blake Parker came in to relieve Jesse Chavez with two outs. He got Nick Castellanos to ground out on the first pitch for the final out.
Top 6th: Angels 4, Tigers 0
Daniel Norris had a quick sixth inning.
C.J. Cron struck out swinging for the first out and Martin Maldonado followed suit in the next at-bat. Danny Espinosa grounded out to second for a quick sixth.
Bottom 5th: Angels 4, Tigers 0
The Tigers needed to put something together in the fifth inning, but Jesse Chavez shut them down again.
Nick Castellanos grounded out to second and Alex Presley quickly followed that up with a fly out to right center. Jose Iglesias grounded out on a bang-bang play at first.
Top 5th: Angels 4, Tigers 0
A much-needed quick groundout by Shane Robinson got things started in the fifth, but the rest of the inning didn't go as smoothly.
However, Andrelton Simmons followed that up with a base hit to left. Kole Calhoun singled to center, but a fielding error by Alex Presley allowed Simmons to score and the runner to move over to second.
Albert Pujols popped out to shallow left for out No. 2. Yunel Escobar went down on strikes to end the lengthy inning.
Bottom 4th: Angels 3, Tigers 0
The Tigers went quietly once again in the fourth.
Victor Martinez nearly got ahold of one, driving it to deep left center but it ended up as a loud out No. 1. The next batter, J.D. Martinez, struck out swinging. Justin Upton popped out to shallow right field, ending the fourth.
Top 4th: Angels 3, Tigers 0
The Angels got right back to work in the fourth, making Daniel Norris work for every out, but tagging him for two more runs.
Yunel Escobar hit a deep double to center field, over the head of a leaping Alex Presley, to start the fourth inning. C.J. Cron then hit a two-run bomb into the left field stands.
Martin Maldonado struck out looking and Danny Espinosa was punched out with a swinging strike three. Eric Young Jr. grounded out to second for the final out.
Bottom 3rd: Angels 1, Tigers 0
The Tigers put a one-out threat together, but couldn't score.
Although he made good contact, Jose Iglesias wasn't rewarded as he lined out to second to start the home half of the third.
Ian Kinsler blasted one deep to left center for a ground-rule double with one out. Alex Avila drew a one-out walk to put two runners on. Miguel Cabrera then grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Top 3rd: Angels 1, Tigers 0
Daniel Norris struggled a bit with his control in the third.
Eric Young Jr. walked to start the inning and then promptly stole second base. Shane Robinson struck out looking for the first out. However, Young Jr. attempted a one-out steal of third and was picked off by Norris.
Andrelton Simmons then drew a two-out walk after a long at-bat. He then stole second base. Kole Calhoun walked to put runners at first and second with two outs for Albert Pujols. He grounded out to third base.
Bottom 2nd: Angels 1, Tigers 0
A two-out single in the second went no further for the Tigers.
J.D. Martinez, who has been hot since coming off the DL last month, grounded out softly to short for the first out. Justin Upton then struck out swinging. Alex Presley ended the second with a strikeout looking.
Nick Castellanos singled through the left side of the infield with two outs.
Top 2nd: Angels 1, Tigers 0
After allowing a first-inning homer, Daniel Norris settled down for a nice 1-2-3 second inning.
C.J. Cron struck out swinging to kick off the inning. Martin Maldonado flew out harmlessly to right field and Danny Espinosa popped out right behind home plate to Alex Avila.
Bottom 1st: Angels 1, Tigers 0
The Tigers went quietly against Angels starter Jesse Chavez in the home half of the first.
In his first at-bat back from the disabled list as the lead-off hitter, Ian Kinsler flew out to center field. Alex Avila followed that up with a swinging strikeout on a 2-2 pitch. Victor Martinez ended the inning by grounding out sharply to first.
Miguel Cabrera lined a two-out single to left field.
Top 1st: Angels 1, Tigers 0
Daniel Norris, having better showings this season on the road, was touched for a run in the opening frame.
Kole Calhoun hit a one-out solo home run to give the Angels a quick lead.
Andrelton Simmons grounded deep in the hole between short to start the game and third and Jose Iglesias made a highlight play, throwing him out. Albert Pujols popped out to short right center for the second out. Yunel Escobar then flew out on the first pitch to center for the final out.
The Tigers are suddenly hot, and getting healthy.
Ian Kinsler returns to the Tigers' lineup Tuesday night when the Tigers open a three-game series against the Angels at Comerica Park. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.
Kinsler is coming off the disabled list following a hamstring injury. He joins a Tigers team that's riding a four-game winning streak, including a sweep of the Chicago White Sox over the weekend in Detroit.
The Angels, meanwhile, are missing arguably the game's best player in Mike Trout, out with a torn ligament in his thumb. Daniel Norris takes the mound for the Tigers, while Jesse Chavez has the start for the Angels.
ANGELS AT TIGERS
First pitch: 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Comerica Park, Detroit
TV/radio: Fox Sports Detroit/97.1 FM
Records: Tigers are 28-28, third place in the American League Central, 2.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins. The Angels are 29-31, second place in the AL West, 14 games behind the Houston Astros.
1. Andrelton Simmons, SS
2. Kole Calhoun, RF
3. Albert Pujols, DH
4. Yunel Escobar, 3B
5. C.J. Cron, 1B
6. Martin Maldonado, C
7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
8. Eric Young, LF
9. Shane Robinson, CF
SP: Jesse Chavez, RHP
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Alex Avila, C
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. J.D. Martinez, RF
6. Justin Upton, LF
7. Nick Castellanos, 3B
8. Alex Presley, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
SP: Daniel Norris, LHP