DETROIT -- The Tigers landed on the wrong side of a hitfest in Comerica Park Friday night. Drew Smyly made his first start of 2014 after being pushed back several times and things went anything but smooth for the young lefty. Smyly had recorded six strikeouts and held opposing batters to a mere .150 batting average in six innings when pitching in relief.
But after pitching just three innings as for his 2014 season debut as a starting pitcher, Smyly allowed four earned runs, six hits, walked two and gave up a two-run home run to Howie Kendrick in the third inning. Of the 82 pitches Smyly threw, 50 were for strikes -- but he threw strikes in all the wrong places.
The last time Smyly started a game was back on September 28, 2012, and despite a sparkling resume in the bullpen, his start Friday night resembled anything but that. The Tigers offense did not fare any better for the majority of the game.
In six innings, the Tigers had only three hits, and the one run scored was in the third inning, courtesy of smart baserunning on the part of Rajai Davis after he stole second base.
But the Tigers were not to be left in the dust. They came back strong in the seventh inning after trailing a miserable 10 runs to come within five after the Angels took Mike Trout and Albert Pujols out of the game and made several changes defensively.
The Tigers made them pay for it when they sent 10 men to the plate and put five on the board to make the score 11-6. Of those 10, seven reached base safely. Alex Avila got the Tigers started when he smoked a double to left field, but his luck would run out in his second at-bat of the inning, grounding out on a 4-3 play to end the inning.
Luke Putkonen relieved Drew Smyly and added insult to injury, pitching two innings but allowing five hits, seven runs, walking two and giving up a two-run home run in the fourth and a three-run homer in the sixth. The first home run was initially called a ground-rule double, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia challenged the call. After review, the call was overturned and ruled a home run.
Justin Miller allowed one hit and struck out one, Phil Coke pitched a solid inning and allowed only one hit and Evan Reed had zeros across the board. While the Tigers threatened in the ninth inning with two singles by Victor Martinez and Austin Jackson, Don Kelly grounded out into an unassisted double play to end the game.
Friday's loss to the Angels marks the 10th consecutive loss the Tigers have suffered. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said following the game, "Unfortunately, when you're down 10 runs, it's tough to come back in the game of baseball."