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Pirates 8, Tigers 4: J.D. Martinez homers in 8th as Kyle Ryan, bullpen struggle

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The Tigers were swept at home by the Bucs on a combination of poor starting pitching, a bad bullpen, and a near-silent offense.

Leon Halip/Getty Images

Another day, another loss. With few exceptions, the Detroit Tigers aren't doing much of anything right and that was again the case on Thursday's series finale. Kyle Ryan wasn't particularly sharp, but it was the bullpen that coughed up another disastrous performance. As a result, J.D. Martinez's eighth inning home run and a ninth inning rally fell by the wayside as the Tigers were handed a series sweep loss, losing 8-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ryan wasn't awful but it wasn't exactly good. He allowed just two runs -- one on a solo home run allowed in the fourth -- but he didn't make it out of the fifth inning. A combination of growing pitch count and the inability to throw strikes ended his day in the fifth inning at three hits and five walks allowed.

Relievers Al Alburquerque and Blaine Hardy both allowed inherited runs to score, then Hardy gave up one of his own in the seventh to make it a 4-0 game. Bruce Rondon and Tom Gorzelanny gave up a four-spot in the eighth, with Rondon allowing three runs and two doubles.

And that offense is making these recaps sound like broken records, though it's hard to know how much blame to assign with the pitching isn't giving the offense a chance at fighting for a win. But yet again it was next to nothing for seven innings.

Then J.D. Martinez smoked a three-run homer and the offense perked up in the ninth. Two doubles by Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler gave the Tigers what would have been the tying run -- had the eighth inning disaster not happened -- and Miguel Cabrera singled to keep it going with two outs. And that's as far as they would get ... again.

ROARS:

J.D. Martinez: His three-run home run in the eighth inning cut the deficit to 4-3 at the time. That's his 21st home run of the season.

Miguel Cabrera: Reached base four times with three walks and a single in the ninth inning.

Ian Kinsler: He was 3-for-5 with a ground-rule RBI double and a run scored, making a few nice defensive plays in the game -- including the ninth inning.

Jose Iglesias: Finished 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.. And, you know, that sparkling defense. Cause he doesn't know how to be dull defensively.

HISSES:

Kyle Ryan: He only allowed two runs ... but he also didn't make it out of the fifth inning before manager Brad Ausmus had to yank him due to walks. In 4+ innings on the mound, he gave up three hits and five walks while striking out four. He threw 94 pitches, just 47 (50 percent) for strikes.

Bruce Rondon: Gave up three runs after J.D. put the team within one, which gave the Pirates some unfortunate breathing room. Rondon allowed two singles, an RBI double, a two-run double, hit a batter on a 98 mph fastball, and a stolen base. He recorded just one out.

The whole dang bullpen: Enough said. And enough is enough. It's time for some changes. Whether the team makes them is another story.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Rajai Davis knocked a leadoff single in the first inning, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.
  • The Tigers grounded into another double play, giving them 80 for the season, which continues to lead MLB.
  • Brad Ausmus was ejected in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes -- but at least he got his money's worth afterward.
  • Blaine Hardy allowed just his second inherited runner to score this year. Just two of 22 (9 percent) inherited runners have scored.
  • J.D. Martinez hit his 21st home run of the year in the seventh inning. He now has 12 home runs and 28 RBI in his last 20 games. It was his eighth home run hit in the seventh inning or later this year, tying him with Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays in that stat.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs