DETROIT — Every pitcher has an off-night, but for David Price, it was about as bad as they come. The left-hander gave up every run the Yankees would get in one inning, and despite papercut runs scored by the Tigers and a solid performance by the Tigers bullpen, the Tigers lost 8-4 and now sit 2 1/2 games behind the Royals in the AL Central.
"It was just an off-night," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He left some balls up in the zone, middle of the plate. They hit some balls hard off him, they hit some balls not-so-hard that found some holes and it was just an off-night for David Price."
Price struck out the side in the first inning after allowing a leadoff single and a walk, but it was all downhill from there. The second inning yielded two hits and by the time the Yankees had been shut down in the third inning, every Yankees batter had recorded at least one hit and the only batter who failed to drive in a run was Martin Prado.
For a pitcher who has shut down nearly every team he's faced since joining the Tigers and done a firm job all season, Wednesday's start was highly uncharacteristic of Price. But even Superman gets hurt and Price is still human. It's just that no one expected him to give up hit after hit, unable to catch a break; and not for lack of defense.
"I've had bad games before," Price said. "Not that bad. That was probably the worst game I've ever had in my life. Been there before. It's not going to stop the way I work the next four days. It's not going to stop my love for the game of baseball. It's just one of those days. Everybody has them. Hopefully, in five days, when I take the mound again it's going to be a lot better."
In his last outing, Price gave up one hit and had nothing to show for it, which had his teammates apologizing to Price for their lack of effort. This time, the tables turned and Price felt as though he'd let the team down with his performance, but the thought never crossed his mind that he couldn't get out of the inning. For Price, that thought was never an option.
The offense had eight hits and scored on four. While it's not particularly explosive hitting and there were a couple of missed opportunities, they were able to cut the deficit in half. Aided by a strong bullpen and solid defense, the Tigers were able to close out a loss in solid fashion with no errors to speak of, which is an improvement on recent events.
"Our bullpen was pretty efficient tonight so no one really had high pitch counts," Ausmus said. "Really, all of them would be available tomorrow, in terms of their usage today unless someone came in with something unexpected overnight. I don't think it's a problem with the bullpen, I think the bullpen pitched very well."
Victor Martinez: Setting a new career-high, one blast at a time. Martinez crushed a solo shot deep into the right field seating area for his 26th home run of the season, picking at the Yankees' lead to make it 8-2. He also drew a walk in the eighth inning.
Miguel Cabrera: A 1-4 night ordinarily wouldn't land Cabrera in this category, but he drove in the first run for the Tigers on an RBI double, scoring Torii Hunter who had singled.
Nick Castellanos: Runs were hard to come by, but Castellanos crushed a two-out triple to the gap in right center to plate V. Martinez, who'd walked, chipping away at the Yankees' lead to make it 8-3.
Torii Hunter: He finished 2-5 and was the only Tiger with multiple hits, hitting a single in the fourth and an RBI single in the ninth inning, cutting the deficit in half by a score of 8-4.
The bullpen: Combined, the bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings and gave up just two hits and a walk. Blaine Hardy gave up two sacrifice flies in the third that were credited to Price. Phil Coke and Patrick McCoy combined for two innings each with three strikeouts between them and Jim Johnson and Al Alburquerque each struck out one while giving up just one hit.
David Price: The left-handed hurler coughed up eight runs on 12 hits in just two innings and he faced nine batters without retiring any in the third. It was the second shortest start of his career. The Tigers were trailing 8-0 when the bottom of the third inning finally rolled around, what seemed like an eternity later.
THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS— Rob Rogacki (@BYBRob) August 28, 2014
Anibal Sanchez visited Dr. James Andrews Wednesday for a second opinion, who confirmed the original diagnosis. Sanchez was given a treatment plan and the Tigers are hopeful for a return before the season ends.
Rajai Davis was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning. After the game Ausmus said Davis was fine and there is nothing to worry about.
The Royals won 6-1 against the Twins on a come-from-behind six-spot eight inning. The Mariners lost 12-4 to the Rangers but with the loss by the Tigers, the Royals have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Tigers and the Tigers are a half-game out of the wildcard spot.
Joakim Soria threw back-to-back days for the first time since going on the disabled list, and the results were positive. Soria increased his throwing distance, will take the day off on Thursday and then throw from a greater distance on Friday. There is no timetable for his return just yet.
Price sent out the following tweet after Wednesday's loss.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Things don't always go your way..that's baseball and most importantly that's LIFE! I'll be fine..learn from every experience and get better</p>— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) <a href="https://twitter.com/DAVIDprice14/statuses/504829395383889920">August 28, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
STREAKS AND STATS:
- David Price gave up 12 hits in two innings plus nine batters, failing to record an out in the third inning. He walked one and struck out three, all of which occurred in the first inning. It was the shortest start of his career since July 4, 2009 when Price lasted 1 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers.
- The eight runs allowed by David Price in the third inning are a tie with his outing on April 7, 2013 against the Cleveland Indians for the most he's ever allowed in an MLB inning.
- Price is also the first pitcher to allow nine consecutive hits in one inning since Houston Astros pitcher Bob Forsch did it on August 3, 1989. Forsch relieved Jim Clancy with the Astros trailing the Reds 5-0 in the bottom of the first inning. He proceeded to allow seven runs on nine straight hits and Forsch remained in the game until Juan Agosto replaced him in the bottom of the eighth inning. That game took all of two hour and 16 minutes to play, despite the first inning. The Astros lost that game 18-2.
- David Price is only the fourth starting pitcher in the last 101 seasons to give up at least 12 hits in an outing of two innings or fewer.
- Since joining the Tigers, Price made five starts and has one win (mainly because of a lack of run support) while retaining a 4.41 ERA. Prior to Wednesday's start Price's ERA with the Tigers was 2.35.
- Miguel Cabrera hit his AL-leading 42nd double of the season in the fourth inning.
- Victor Martinez set a new career-high in home runs when he hit his 26th home run in the sixth inning.
- The Tigers bullpen pitched seven scoreless innings. It is the most scoreless innings pitched in a single game by the Tigers bullpen since they pitched the same set of scoreless innings against the Houston Astros on May 2, 2013.
- Torii Hunter's two hits gives him a multi-hit game in each of the last four games.
- Wednesday's attendance of 40,876 was the 24th sellout crowd of the season for the Tigers, and their ninth in a row.
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