'A rough one': Angels belt five homers, shut out sleepy Tigers
Detroit — The Tigers could've FedEx'd their bats to Minneapolis on Wednesday night.
They didn't seem to have much use for them Thursday afternoon.
Buoyed by Albert Pujols' home run and 2,000th career RBI, the Los Angeles Angels stomped the Tigers, 13-0, to take the series finale at Comerica Park. Brad Ausmus' Angels took two of three in his return to Detroit.
Detroit managed just five hits, and just three after the first inning, in being shut out for the fourth time in 2019.
Tigers spot starter Ryan Carpenter (0-1) was pretty rough from the get-go, allowing two runs in the first — the first on an RBI single by Shohei Ohtani, his first hit of the season.
The Angels added three more in the second inning, in which they fell a triple shy of the cycle. Tommy La Stella's home run, his first of two on the game, was the big blow.
Pujols' blast in the third, making him officially the third member of the 2,000 RBI club and unofficially the fifth, made it 6-0, and fans — the announced crowd was just 16,404 — started heading for the exits, already, despite what ended up a pleasant afternoon after the game was delayed nearly an hour by rain.
"Today was a rough one," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Carp did the best he could, it just didn't work out too well."
Carpenter at least gave the Tigers five innings, essentially given the four games they have coming up in three days in Minnesota. He allowed six runs on eight hits.
He settled down after the Pujols homer, but it was too late after that.
"I just got behind pretty much every hitter I faced early," Carpenter said. "You know, it's really hard to make good pitches when you're behind in the count. I kind of dug myself a hole pretty early there.
"Falling behind, that's very uncharacteristic for me. Ultimately, that's what got me in a lot of trouble."
The bullpen didn't do much better, Zac Reininger's struggles continuing (three runs on four hits, two home runs), along with Eduardo Jimenez (three earned runs) and Reed Garrett (one run, home run).
Reininger, with his 14.85 ERA, was demoted after the game. A corresponding move comes Friday.
The Angels combined for five home runs, with Kole Calhoun and Justin Bour hitting the others.
The 13 runs are the second-most allowed in a game this season by the Tigers, who gave up 15 to the Royals earlier in the month.
Miguel Cabrera had a first-inning single to move up into a tie for 64th on the all-time hit list with former Tiger Rusty Staub, at 2,716. Niko Goodrum followed with a first-inning double, but they were stranded. That was the Tigers' only serious threat, and the only time they still seemed competitive in the game.
The Angels went with the opener to start the game, with Luke Bard working only the first, then Felix Pena (2-1) tossing seven dazzling innings, allowing three hits and no walks while striking out seven.
The Tigers now have been outscored by 42 runs, the third-worst run differential in all of baseball, making their not-awful 16-18 record seem more like a house of cards that's about to crumble to the slightest gust.
And a storm might just be brewing for the Tigers, who play four games in Minnesota against the scorching first-place Twins — including a doubleheader Saturday that will test their starting-pitching depth — and following that is three games at home against the AL West-leading Houston Astros.
"It's gonna be tough and we're gonna have to be ready for it," Gardenhire said.