There were a lot of positives to be found Sunday. The final score was not one of them.
Jordan Zimmermann pitched eight innings of one run-ball. The bullpen allowed only one base runner in four innings. That fifth inning was the tricky one, and the Tigers lost, 2-1, anyway.
That’s because the Tigers’ offense managed only one run on five hits. That run came in the third inning when Steven Moya hit a home run to right. He finished the day with three hits. Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton added a hit apiece.
Which is a pity, really. Because Zimmermann pitched his best game since injuring his groin in May. Entering the game, Jordan Zimmermann had allowed 15 runs (13 earned) in 17 innings in the three starts since returning from his groin injury.
Sunday he allowed just one in eight innings, pitched efficiently on 93 pitches. He gave up five hits and walked four.
Justin Wilson made his return to the mound for the first time since June 12. A nice pickoff erased Jarrod Dyson (who may not actually have been hit by a pitch.) Shane Greene pitched a typical game. Bruce Rondon — pitching for the Tigers for the first time since being sent home by manager Brad Ausmus last September — looked great in his two scoreless innings.
Unfortunately, Kyle Ryan, called up before the game, couldn’t continue. And Ausmus, rather than trying to extend the game by using Francisco Rodriguez, fell prey to using the old manager’s bible. Just like a football coach afraid to go on fourth down, it won’t get you fired, but it won’t help you pull out an extra win, either.
Still, put the blame on the lineup. Everyone else played their roles fine.
Jordan Zimmermann — Retired the final 11 batters he saw to finish the day with an eight-inning, one-run performance. He struck out five, gave up four hits and walked none. TL;DR: JZ back!
Bullpen — Justin Wilson threw a scoreless ninth (with a nice pickoff of Jarrod Dyson), Shane Greene a scoreless 10th, Bruce Rondon a scoreless 11th and 12th (with four strikeouts!).
Steven Moya — His 421-foot home run in the third inning was about all the offense the Tigers could muster. He accounted for two of three hits allowed by Royals starter Chris Young and picked up his third hit off Royals reliever Peter Moylan.
The rest of the lineup — Cameron Maybin had a hit. So did Justin Upton. Nobody else did. Miguel Cabrera did reach twice via the walk.
STATS AND STREAKS
- Steven Moya hit his first MLB home run. He has 113 minor league homers. It went 421 feet.
- Cameron Maybin was ejected in the 11th for arguing a ball/strike call he was wrong about.