09/16/10 12:22 AM ET
Tigers' loss caps frustrating stay in Texas
Leyland ejected as pitching roughed up for 22 runs in two days
By Todd Wills / Special to MLB.com
The Tigers' manager still knows what happened in two nights in Texas, even if he didn't see the final five innings. His team took two early leads and then just basically blew it, kind of like how the Tigers thought umpire Jerry Layne botched a video replay call on a Rangers home run in Tuesday's 11-4 loss.
Basically, it was just a frustrating two days all around for the Tigers, who fell two games under .500 at 72-74 with 16 games left on the schedule.
"We pitched terrible here for two days," Leyland said. "We had two leads twice and gave up 11 runs. That's not good. We gave up 22 runs in two ballgames. That's bad. We didn't field our position, we didn't make plays and we didn't pitch well."
Leyland's frustration, other than several close umpiring calls over two nights, came in the fact that the Tigers jumped out to a 4-1 lead on Tuesday and then a 2-0 lead on Wednesday, and the pitching staff didn't do anything to hold those leads and give the Tigers' bats a chance to add to them.
"We get up 4-0 or 5-0 and then we have a chance," Leyland said.
It didn't happen for the Tigers. Starter Armando Galarraga, who moved up to start in place of injured Rick Porcello, delivered his worst start of the season.
Galarraga went 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits. It was Galarraga's worst start of the season and his shortest. It was the first time he's allowed more than four earned runs in a start going back to June 29 at Minnesota when he allowed six earned runs in four innings.
Galarraga lost his 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Vladimir Guerrero crushed a fastball that was actually down in the strike zone 449 feet into the visitors' bullpen to cut the Detroit lead to 2-1. Nelson Cruz followed with a double, and a throwing error by Alex Avila on a sacrifice bunt by Ian Kinsler allowed Cruz to scored easily from second base.
The Rangers took the lead in the third without the berefit of an extra-base hit. Elvis Andrus and Michael Young started the inning with singles and David Murphy made it 3-2 by reaching on Galarraga's throwing error. Galarraga got the next batter, Guerrero, to ground into a double play, but Young scored to make it 4-2.
The long ball ended Galarraga's night in the bottom of the fourth. Already trailing, 5-2, after giving up three more singles, Galarraga allowed a towering three-run home run to Murphy for an 8-2 deficit.
"He just didn't have it tonight," Leyland said.
The Tigers did mount a rally in the top of the fifth, perhaps feeding off Leyland's ejection. Catcher Gerald Laird, who entered the game in the eighth inning, said it was a spark.
The Tigers scored three runs in the inning, the big blow a two-run double by Ryan Raburn on a drive that went in and out of the glove of Cruz in right field to cut the Rangers' lead to 8-5.
The Rangers got that run back in the bottom of the sixth on Kinsler's RBI single.
The Tigers then cut the lead back to 9-7 in the top of seventh on a triple by Johnny Damon -- the 100th of his career -- and a sacrifice fly to center field by Miguel Cabrera. Raburn followed with his 13th home run of the season to center field.
"He's swinging good," Leyland said. "He's been on a roll for a while."
But on Wednesday night, just like Tuesday, the Tigers couldn't keep the Rangers off the scoreboard. Kinsler drilled a two-run home run off Ryan Perry in the bottom of the seventh as the Rangers extended their lead again to 11-7.
"They were starting to get a little momentum and you always want to respond to that," Kinsler said. "We were able to do that."
Long out of the American League Central race, the Tigers now head to Chicago, insisting that these final 16 games matter, even with them being 15 1/2 games out of first place and on the verge of being mathematically eliminated Friday night.
"It's important," said Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson, who made a spectacular catch in the fifth inning, running into the wall and hanging onto the ball. "We're playing for respect. We're playing for ourselves."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.