Detroit — On another brisk day at Comerica Park, the Tigers’ offense hardly showed any signs of heating up.
The Tigers were held to three hits Thursday and lost the deciding game in the three-game series to Cleveland, 4-0.
The Tigers didn’t have a hit until Niko Goodrum singled with two out in the fourth inning, then had their lone threat in the fifth when Grayson Greiner and Jordy Mercer singled with one out.
But JaCoby Jones, making his season debut, popped to the catcher and Josh Harrison grounded out to end the inning.
And, that was it in terms of offense.
“We didn’t do enough to give our team a chance to win,” catcher Greiner said.
The Tigers (8-5) have scored 33 runs in 13 games, the fewest in the major leagues.
They're also last in home runs (five) and RBIs (30), and only two teams have fewer hits (78). Thursday was the third time this season the Tigers have been shutout.
Clearly, the offense has been lacking.
“We’re playing hard, absolutely, coming to the ballpark and like you’re supposed to do, compete,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’re doing that real well. We haven’t swung the bats real well. We haven’t had one of those days where we’re knocking it all over the field. I look for that to happen some time soon, it’s early.
“It’s cold, the weather has been screwing with us and it’s not going to get better in Minneapolis (where Friday’s game is already canceled). It’s cold there, too. But you have to deal with it and eventually we’ll break out as an offense and be consistent.
“Right now, it’s not there. But we’re playing pretty good baseball. We’re OK.”
Already struggling offensively, the Tigers were without right fielder Nick Castellanos, who is day-to-day with a sprained toe.
Pitcher Spencer Turnbull (0-2) lasted four innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs, while walking one and striking out four.
Turnbull threw 91 pitches over those four innings, laboring from the start.
“You can call it fighting himself, but more just out of whack a little bit,” Gardenhire said. “Just one of those days. He’s a young pitcher and you have to grow and learn from it.”
Turnbull had difficulty throwing his slider, which was so effective in his previous two starts.
“I’m not going to say it’s the cold — it was cold last week, too, and I had a slider — I’m not sure what it was, but I had a tough time finding that pitch today,” Turnbull said. “I’m frustrated with the way I performed today. I didn’t give our team a real chance to win. It could have been a lot better.”
Turnbull struck out the first two hitters in the game, then allowed a bloop single to Jake Bauers, who stole second base, and scored on a soft Carlos Santana single.
“It’s frustrating, but you can’t let that get to you,” Turnbull said. “You stick to your game plan. I wasn’t able to make enough pitches today.”
Former Tiger Leonys Martin had three hits, including a home run in the third inning, an RBI single in the fourth, and doubled and scored on Santana’s third hit and second RBI in the seventh.
Indians starting pitcher Shane Bieber (1-0) went seven innings, allowing three hits while walking one and striking out six.
“We did chase some pitches, (but) he had good stuff and threw the ball well,” Gardenhire said. “We hit some balls hard at people.”
The Tigers are headed from chilly Detroit to downright wintry Minneapolis, where Friday’s game was already postponed due to snow. The teams will play a day-night doubleheader May 11 to make up for the cancellation.