Detroit — Understandably, after a rather droll 8-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins Sunday, the few Tigers players that stuck around preferred to discuss Justin Verlander's third career no-hitter.
"He keeps amazing people," said John Hicks, who has hit two home runs off him, including a game-winner in Houston last month. "He gets older and better it seems like. What'd he have, 14 strikeouts and he walked the second batter of the game?
"It's pretty impressive what he's able to do."
Matthew Boyd, who was walking out to his car afterward, before the media was let into the clubhouse, hadn't heard of Verlander's feat.
"He did?" Boyd said. "He's so talented that it's a possibility every time he pitches. It's truly impressive, but not surprising."
Much of Boyd's attack-every-pitch mentally was culled from his three seasons with Verlander.
"It just speaks to his dedication, his professionalism and how he goes forward every day," Boyd said. "Obviously, he had all the talent in the world when he came up. But you think that's something that's finite, but it's not. He believes you need to keep working hard.
"He just continues to get better. Every year he comes up with something to get better. I'm very happy for him."
The Tigers are looking for a similar tonic for rookie right-hander Spencer Turnbull. The Central Division-leading Twins put up five runs against him in the second inning and the Tigers were never in contention.
"Not good enough, flat out," said Turnbull, who endured his 14th loss of the season. "Felt really good in the first inning and then second inning just couldn't get anybody out. It's pretty frustrating. And then I was just kind of battling after that.
"I'm trying to make adjustments as quick as I can but for whatever reason just couldn't get any outs in the second inning. I'm not real sure why. It's just really frustrating. Just gotta be better."
Consistency and efficiency continue to elude Turnbull.
After an encouraging, 14-pitch, two-strikeout first inning — his first clean inning in three starts — Turnbull got himself entangled in a 35-pitch, 10-batter, second inning.
"He was misfiring right from the get-go," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "His mechanics kind of get out of whack on him. You see him yank pitches. His arm feels great. He says he feels good. He just misfires, whether it's not picking up the target and staying locked on it or it's his line to home plate.
"I just see him getting out of whack. You've got to let him pitch through it. He sat out for a while and he's really not come back and found it."
And as has been the case recently, his troubles escalated when he had to work out of the stretch. After a one-out walk, forcing him to work from the stretch for the first time in the game, Turnbull gave up five hits and hit a batter.
Two of the singles, by left-handed hitting Jason Castro and Jake Cave, were hit through the vacated left side of the infield against the Tigers’ defensive shift. The Twins had four hits against the Tigers' shift.
"You saw we were in the shift and they kept flipping balls through," Gardenhire said. "That was mostly because, when you are playing the shift you're supposed to throw it inside so they hit it into the shift. But he just missed out and over the plate."
The Tigers eventually adjusted, keeping two infielders on each side of second base, but the damage had been done."
"Those guys are really good hitters over there," Gardenhire said. "They see that hole and there's an RBI out there, they're not afraid to punch one through the hole. That's what they do. They're good enough hitters over there, they can do those things."
Turnbull did manage to grind his way through 4⅔ innings on 102 pitches, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks. But it was a continuation of Turnbull’s downward spiral this season.
After blanking the Royals over six innings on June 11, he had a 2.78 ERA with opponents hitting .234 (.670 OPS) in 14 starts.
In 10 starts after that, not including Sunday, he posted a 6.70 ERA with opponents hitting .305 (.928 OPS).
"I'm trying to figure that out, but it obviously keeps happening," Turnbull said. "I'm doing something, just haven't been able to figure it out or haven't been able to fix it, whatever the situation is. I'm just trying to figure it out and get better."
Asked if it was more mental or physical, he said, "I don't know, honestly. Maybe a little something physical, but could be a mental thing too. It's probably a combination of both."
The Tigers have now lost 13 straight games started by Turnbull. According to MLB.com, that ties the longest losing streak in franchise history (since 1908). It was last done by Ted Gray between 1952-1953.
You can understand why the Tigers would rather talk about Verlander's no-no.
"It doesn't seem like he's falling down any," Hicks said. "He's got a chance to win another Cy Young this year, too. It seems like he's getting stronger as the season progresses — whatever he's doing in the offseason is working."
Still, Hicks still has bragging in Goochland, Virginia, this year.
"I like him know about it, too," Hicks said, laughing. "He's got me the seven other at-bats, but I've got two off him. Which I am pretty happy about."