Padres 5, Tigers 1: Tyson Ross shuts down 'blah' Tigers' offense

Denis Poroy

Padres' starter Tyson Ross shut down an uninspired Tigers' offense, while an inefficient Max Scherzer lasts only five innings in taking his first loss of the season.

The San Diego Padres rode the right arm of Tyson Ross to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers, taking the rubber game of their weekend series.

Ross (1-2) had his best start of the young season, striking out seven Tigers on his was to a one run, six hit, seven innings pitched victory. Ex-Tiger Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street kept the Tigers in check over the final two innings to lock down the win.

Remaining winless on the season was losing pitcher Max Scherzer. (0-1) The Tigers' starter recorded a season high ten strikeouts, but also gave up four runs on four hits and three walks, needing 104 pitches to get through five innings. The Tigers' bullpen would combine for three innings of one hit, one run relief.

"I don't know how to describe it. It was kind of a 'blah' day for us." -Manager Brad Ausmus

The Padres had only six hits on the day, but three were for extra base hits to drive in runs. Jedd Gyorko and Xavier Nady had solo home runs, Will Venable adding a two RBI double. Ross also contributed at the plate, chipping in with an RBI single.

Padres' pitching shut down the Tigers' offense for the second time in three games. The only Tiger with more than one hit was Rajai Davis, who reached base three times with two singles and a hit by pitch. The lone Tigers run came via a fourth inning Victor Martinez RBI single.

The west coast swing comes to a merciful end, the Tigers finishing their first road trip of the season at 2-3. The Tigers left town in first place, they return in first place. Works for me.

Though I'm sure there will be some who will bitch and moan (you know exactly where you can find hem) that the Tigers suck, Cabrera is fat and doesn't care anymore, Scherzer is mediocre and "Dumbrowski" needs to be fired for not fixing the bullpen yesterday, those mouth breathers don't realize the point of a west coast trip is to survive it.

All I ask for out series out by the Pacific is the Tigers don't get swept. I will take a one game under .500 west coast swing every damn time and run like Hell all the way back to the D.

-----

Both Tyson Ross and Max Scherzer set the side down in order to start the game. Ross did the same in the second. But Scherzer was rocked for a lead off, no-doubt solo shot off the bat of Jedd Gyorko. The Padres' second baseman jumped all over a 3-1 fastball over the fat part of the plate, launching it off the facing of the Petco Park left field second deck.

Scherzer was able to avoid further damage, but the Padres took a 1-0 lead into the third inning.

The Tigers played NL-style small ball against Ross, putting runners on the corners with two out. Alex Gonzalex singled with one down, advancing to second on Scherzer's sacrifice bunt. Rajai Davis appeared to tweak his hamstring during the at-bat, but was still able to leg out an infield single. But Ian Kinsler's ground ball ended the threat.

Davis remained in the game, but the tweaked right hamstring was the same one which caused him to miss time in spring training.

Bottom of three, a a single and a walk gave the Padres a scoring opportunity. The speedy Everth Cabrera singled with one out. Victor Martinez was unable to handle an inside fastball  to Alexi Amarista (which could have been a passed ball, scorer calling it a wild pitch), Cabrera taking second. Scherzer would end up issuing Cabrera a walk. Turned out he would get defensive help from an unexpected source, which would keep the Padres from extending their lead.

Davis' hamstring showed no ill-effects when he robbed Seth Smith of extra bases for the second out. Both runners were forced to retreat thanks to run saving lunging, diving catch on the warning track.

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Scherzer pitched out of trouble on a comebacker off the bat of Gyorko.

The Tigers' bats woke up in the top of the fourth, tying the game at 1-all in the process.

Torii Hunter's hot start to the season proceeds unabated, his lead off double into the right field corner kick-starting a rally. Miguel Cabrera has yet to break out this season, but his fly to deep right looked like a home run off the bat. Unfortunately, the ball died on the warning track, Hunter tagging up and taking third. Hunter would stroll home when Martinez knotted the game at 1-1 with a hard single to center.

Scherzer entered the fourth with a pitch count of 64 pitches. But he battled his command, his pitch count quickly elevated and the Padres took advantage. Scherzer walked the first two batters he faced, bringing pitching coach Jeff Jones out of the dugout. Whatever he said, it didn't work.

"Just one of those days where they were better than us." -Ausmus on the Tigers' loss

Will Venable entered today's game hitting .151 and did not have an RBI in ten games. He now had two in 11. Venable yanked Scherzer's first pitch into the right field corner for a two RBI double and a 3-1 Padres lead. Ross made it a 4-1 game, Alex Gonzalez unable to make a play on a four hopper to the left side, the ball skipping past the diving 37-year-old for an RBI single.

With (GULP) Phil Coke warming up, Scherzer recorded the final two outs of the inning. But the Padres had retaken the lead, scoring three runs on two hits and two walks, Scherzer needing 28 pitches to get out of the fourth.

Once again, we learned bad things happen with you walk the lead off man.

The Tigers tried to counter, manufacturing a two out threat against Ross. With Scherzer due to bat in the fifth, NL strategy dictated a a pinch-hitter. Going against the grain, Brad Ausmus allowed his starter to remain in the game, thinking Scherzer had at least one more inning him. He whiffed for the second out.

But Davis was plunked by Ross, and Kinsler singled into the hole at short, keeping the inning alive. Hunter couldn't come through with the two out hit, going down swinging to end the inning.

Scherzer bounced back from a rough fourth.  He stuck out the side (the Padres' middle of the order 3-4-5  hitters) in the fifth, needing only 12 pitches.

Castellanos made a bid for an extra base hit with Jackson on base and two down in the sixth, but Smith made a nice running catch in deep left to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard. It was going to be one of those games...

Scherzer was done after five innings. Do things go better with Coke? Bottom of six, we would soon find out.

The much derided lefty gave up a pair of long outs (Jackson and Davis ran down drives in front of the left center field warming track), but to his credit he set the side down in order.

While Tigers fans were catching their breath over the Coke appearance, Ross was cruising along, striking out Gonzalez and pinch-hitter Tyler Collins. After Davis singled, reaching base for a third time, Padres pitching Darren Balsley made a mound visit. Whatever Balsely said worked, Kinsler bouncing out to end the inning.

Ian Krol followed up his scoreless outing on Saturday night ... by allowing a long home run to .091 hitting Xavier Nady to start the bottom of the seventh. The solo homer to center pushed the Padres' lead to 5-1.

Ross' excellent outing over after seven innings, Bud Black called on the Padres' new setup man. He's quite familiar to Tigers fans, being he's Joaquin Benoit.

No home runs would be served up by Benoit this afternoon. He did walk Hunter, the lead off man. But he was quickly eliminated when a scuffling Cabrera bounced into a 6-4-3 double play.

Joba Chamberlain did his job by tossing a scoreless eighth. It would be up to the Tigers offense to mount a comeback against closer Huston Street. Of course, Tigers fans will always have soft spot in their hearts for Street for serving up Magglio Ordonez's walk-off homer in game 4 of the 2006 ALCS.

No walk-off home runs would be on tap on this afternoon.

Street easily got the first two outs, but Chase Headly's error on Gonzalez's grounder extended the inning. Don Kelly picnh-hit for Chamberlain, and kept hope alive with a single. Hope died when Davis bounced out to end the Tigers' second miserable offensive performance of the series.

Game over. Your final score is Padres 5, Tigers 1. Thank goodness the west coast road trip is over.

One west coast swing down, only TWO MORE TO GO. (heavy sigh)

Today is getaway day for the Tigers, who will leave temperate San Diego for currently temperate Detroit (though SE MI's forecast for the coming week isn't good) to start a ten game, three series home stand Tuesday night.

"It wasn't great, wasn't awful." -Ausmus, when asked to sum up the road trip

The Tigers kick off the long home stand with three games with the Indians. Tribe right-hander Zach McAllister (1-0, 2.31 ERA) will take on Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 3.00 ERA). McAllister has been the Indians' best starter early on, allowing just three earned runs on 11 hits, striking out 11 in 11 2/3 innings. Sanchez has been dealt some tough luck in 2014. His first start ended prematurely due to a weather delay. Sanchez was in line to earn the win in his second start until Joe Nathan blew his second save of the season.

Tuesday's first pitch at what should be a below freezing Comerica Park is scheduled for 7:08 P.M.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

Weird stat of the day involves the Tigers' lineup and the number 4.

Courtesy of our good friend Rogo, a trade update:

The Padres were in their camouflage unis today, causing quite a bit of consternation.

For those who complain Alex Avila shouldn't be playing every day (just read the comments of any Tigers piece on the newspaper sites), we got first-hand evidence as to why his defense cannot be ignored. With two out in the second Scherzer struck out Will Venable to end the inning ... or so we thought. Victor Martinez was behind the plate, and was not able to handle the pitch. After corralling the ball, he still had plenty of time to make the play, but the throw to first pulled Miguel Cabrera off the bag.

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Martinez was charged with an error on the play, his second error in two games wearing the tools of ignorance. Scherzer was able to get the next out, but it was another example as to why you don't want to play a 35-year-old Martinez behind the plate more often.

FSD quote of the day was shouted by Mario Impemba after Rajai Davis' spectacular catch.

"HOLY CATS!"

I also would have accepted "HOLY MACKEREL."

Max Scherzer recorded his tenth K in the fifth inning, making it the 19th double digit strikeout game of his career.The ten whiffs moved Scherzer to 19th in franchise history with 854 strikeouts.

Things change, including how you associate words.

I'm going to take this advice...

THREE ROARS:

Rajai Davis: Reached base three times, extended his hitting streak to seven games, and made a nice defensive play.

Phil Coke: Baby steps forward today for the long-time resident of the Tigers' fans dog house. Coke retired the side in order in his one inning of work.

Joba Chamberlain: Baby steps for the bearded reliever, tossing a scoreless eighth inning. The one hit Chamberlain allowed was a bleeder up the middle.

As you can tell, it's hard to come up with three ROARS in what was a meh performance by the Tigers.

THREE HISSES:

Miguel Cabrera: Scuffling badly and hitting .225 after an 0-for-4 day wrapped up a 2-for-20 west coast trip. Hopefully a dose of home cooking helps.

Max Scherzer: A very inefficient Scherzer needed over 100 pitches to get through five innings. Who does he think he is, Justin Verlander?

Austin Jackson: Recorded his first three strikeout game of the season, bringing back the #AustinJacksonStrikesOut hash tag.

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 737
Total commenters 43
Commenter list BadCompany22, BigAl, Chadster, DJ Screw, Designated for Assignment, FrogTownFan, GhostOfBigRed, Grzesio, JWurm, Jacob30, Joaquin on Sunshine, JoeK5, Keith-Allen, MSUDersh, MotorCityCat, NCDee, RealityIsOptionable, Rob Rogacki, SpartanHT, Stolz, Sturgeon Slaw, TomduhB, VegasDick, Verlanderful, XFizzle, aelix, ahtrap, ap62, beelze, crc33, dishnet34, frisbeepilot, kland83, knucklescarbone, lesmanalim, lithium, mrsunshine, ottisfranklin, stevenyc, subic sailor, swish330, texastigerfan, thepartybird
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2014/4/13/5610756/game-10-tigers-at-padres-4-10-p-mhttp://www.blessyouboys.com/2014/4/13/5611248/game-10-overflow

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 ottisfranklin 92
2 Joaquin on Sunshine 86
3 texastigerfan 68
4 swish330 64
5 FrogTownFan 52
6 JWurm 40
7 stevenyc

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
2 frisbeepilot Alright, FINE, the DH is a useful thing.
2 Joaquin on Sunshine JOAQUIN
2 Rob Rogacki BASEBALL

GAME NINE PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Justin Verlander beat the Padres with his arm (7IP, 2ER, 8H) and his bat (2-for-3, 1R), and was rewarded with 96% of the vote to win the player of the game balloting.

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