Tigers surrender three-run lead to Marlins as losing streak reaches eight
Detroit — Eight straight losses. All at home. Two against a team that came in with the lowest winning percentage in baseball.
The struggle is real for the Detroit Tigers.
"These are grown men and they will handle it," manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Tigers were beaten by the Miami Marlins 6-3 Wednesday night. "It's really a rough stretch. Nothing is going too awfully well right now.
"Maybe we'll be able to think back to this day somewhere down the road and say, 'Man, that was brutal, let's not do that again.' Right now we're going through it. We just have to live it."
It was a doubly frustrating night for Gardenhire. As the national anthem was being played before the game, he was on the phone to his daughter in Oklahoma. She was down in the storm cellar with the rest of Gardenhire's family, ducking the tornadoes that had touched down a half-mile from their home.
"Scary stuff," Gardenhire said. "We're fixing to play a game and I'm watching the weather so I can tell her what's going on. They're all down in the pits that we have there — not much fun."
Everything turned out OK in Oklahoma, not so much at Comerica Park.
A three-run Marlins rally in the seventh inning wasted a strong outing by Tigers starter Daniel Norris.
"I felt good, but obviously I hate leaving on that note," said Norris, who through six innings allowed only a solo home run to Garrett Cooper. "I wanted to finish what I started."
Norris worked quickly and efficiently, throwing first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 23 hitters he faced. He threw mostly fastballs — 29 four-seamers and 23 two-seamers — and used his slider, change-up and curveball off them.
He struck out five and got nine ground ball outs.
But his night was over at 92 pitches after he gave up a single to Harold Ramirez leading off the seventh inning. He left to a warm ovation and a 3-1 lead.
"We were going hitter to hitter there," Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, the first guy rolled one through. You've got to go get him (Norris). You can't let him be in a situation to lose the ballgame.
"And Buck's been one of our best relievers. He's been consistent all year."
Buck Farmer had been scored on just once in his last nine outings, but on this night he gave away the lead in two batters. After a single by Martin Prado, Neil Walker tied the score with a two-run double to the gap in right-center.
One out later, Miguel Rojas singled Walker home and the Marlins led 4-3.
"Buck's been great for us all year," Tigers catcher John Hicks said. "He's been one of our key guys out there. Everybody has a day where they don't have their best stuff."
In the eighth, Brian Anderson belted a two-run home run — on an 0-2 fastball off Victor Alcantara — to extend the lead.
The Tigers scored single runs in each of the first three innings against Marlins starter Jose Urena.
Gordon Beckham doubled and scored on a base hit by Niko Goodrum. They scored an unearned run in the second and Christin Stewart, mired in a 4-for-37 skid at the time, doubled in a run in the third.
Stewart had three hits on the night.
But, as has been the trend, the clutch hits dried up quickly. The Tigers stranded eight baserunners from the third inning on, four in scoring position.
"This is the first night where we haven't had music going (in the clubhouse)," Beckham said. "Generally, we try to just flush it and put some light music on after a loss. But you can tell the guys are frustrated.
"We played pretty hard today and it just didn't work out."
Beckham said the club has a choice: let the losing streak consume them, or keep fighting through it.
"We can let it steamroll us or we can say at some point it's going to get better and maybe we will win eight in a row," he said. "You just keep coming to work. This is a tough game and we're playing at a high level.
"It's frustrating to lose, but you keep answering the bell every day. A lot of these young guys have to learn that. It's not easy."