Alfredo Simon's poor start made it difficult for the Detroit Tigers to end up in the win column, and the offense didn't help by ruining a multitude of scoring opportunities. Two home runs by Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez gave the team enough life, but the Tigers went on to lose 8-7 to the Chicago White Sox in the 10th inning with the bases loaded.
The Tigers' offensive opportunities and bad baserunning left much to be desired. Between erasing runs from third base trying to score, to grounding into multiple double plays, Detroit left 12 men on-base and were 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Kinsler and Martinez both smoked two-run shots to left, Kinsler's coming in the first and Martinez's in the fifth, putting the Tigers within one at the time. But in the eighth, Nick Castellanos, who had tripled earlier in the game, hit a leadoff double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jose Iglesias then drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left, his first of the 2015 season, to tie the game 5-5.
As for Simon, his outing was rough, to say the least. After allowing a home run on just the second pitch of the game, he gave up two runs in both the second and fifth innings, respectively, for a total of five runs on six hits. He struck out five but also walked three, and his command of the strike zone was missing. He went 6 1/3 innings before being replaced by Bruce Rondon, who made his season debut with the Tigers since being sidelined with right biceps tendinitis.
Rondon looked sharp, throwing just eight pitches (six strikes) to strikeout both batters he faced. His last pitch thrown got Adam LaRoche on a 101 mph fastball. After struggling in Triple-A for a while even after he finished his rehab assignment, it was good to see the flamethrowing righty dispatch both batters with such ease.
After an adequate outing by Blaine Hardy in the eighth, Joakim Soria started the ninth. Despite allowing a leadoff single, he erased the next three batters, striking out the final batter on a 70 mph curveball that buckled the knees of Jose Abreu to force extras. Unfortunately, Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases in the 10th and hung a slider to Carlos Sanchez with two outs and two strikes, which cleared the bases to give the White Sox an 8-5 lead.
The Tigers offense loaded the bases in the 10th, getting two runs on Bryan Holaday's two-run single. But Kinsler popped out and Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked as Victor Martinez had, for some reason, been taken out earlier in the game. Pinch hitting for him was Josh Wilson, and he struck out on four pitches to end the game 8-7, handing Detroit a two-game losing streak.
Ian Kinsler: Put the Tigers up 2-1 in the first inning with a two-run blast over the left field bullpen. He gets a glare, though, for his bunting in the sixth inning.
J.D. Martinez: Smoked a two-run home run to left in the bottom of the fifth inning, putting the Tigers within one at the time.
Jose Iglesias: Finished 2-for-3 with a walk, and was one of four Tigers players with a multi-hit game. He also hit his first sac fly of the year, driving in the tying run for Detroit in the eighth.
Victor Martinez: Was 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Since coming off the DL he's been batting .345 with a home run, two doubles, and seven RBI. He's struck out just once in 31 plate appearances.
Alfredo Simon: He couldn't find the strike zone at the right times, was erratic, and struggled to get outs. Allowing a home run on the second pitch of the game doesn't help, either.
Tigers offense, baserunning: It's June 25, and in particular these baserunning issues are still glaringly prevalent. And why Kinsler was bunting in the sixth with two on and Cabrera on-deck, as a poor bunter, it's beyond me. That situation in the sixth shouldn't have happened and after six the Tigers had left eight on-base, unable to score three times. Instead it was a 5-4 game in favor of the White Sox entering the seventh. They ultimately stranded 12, including the bases-loaded situation to end the game.
Joba Chamberlain: Had one job(a). But he loaded the bases on a walk, a hit by pitch, and a single that Iglesias knocked down but wasn't able to fire to third for the final out -- it was just hit too sharply. Sanchez got into a 1-2 count but laced a hanging slider to right, clearing the bases and giving the White Sox a comfortable lead. The Tigers would not recover.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Ian Kinsler hit a home run in the first inning, just his second homer of the 2015 season.
- J.D. Martinez's two-run home run in the fifth inning marked his 18th homer of the season, which paces the team. His eight home runs in the month of June are more than Miguel Cabrera (4) and Yoenis Cespedes (3) combined.
- Victor Martinez has two doubles, one home run, seven RBI, and seven runs scored in six games since coming back from disabled list. He had two doubles, one home run, 15 RBI, and nine runs total before that.
- Victor Martinez's three-hit day is his fifth of the season and his second since coming off the DL.
- The Tigers grounded into three double plays on Thursday, marking the seventh time they've done so in a game this season. The third double play was the 76th of the season for the Tigers.
- In his last 8 2/3 innings pitched (two games), Simon has given up 12 runs on 14 hits, issuing six walks and allowing three home runs. Of his five starts in June, Thursday's game was Simon's fourth start where he has allowed four or more runs in a game. Simon's lone start where he held the opposition to fewer than four runs was on June 14 when Simon gave up three hits and no runs in five innings pitched.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: