DETROIT — Justin Verlander looked more like himself on Thursday, but with a silent offense, crappy defense, and a Francisco Rodriguez collapse, the Tigers lost 2-1 to the Mariners for a series loss.
With Hisashi Iwakuma and Verlander facing off on Thursday, runs were in short supply. In fact, the only two runs for most of the day were unearned and the result of defensive errors. Meanwhile, the opposing starting pitchers dominated one anothers’ teams, putting up five straight innings of no-run ball and Verlander getting eight strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Iwakuma would not outlast Verlander’s efforts, departing after 52⁄3 innings and three hits allowed. But before he left, the Tigers’ defense blinked as a result of miscommunication between Tyler Collins and Jim Adduci. The latter had tracked the ball down from right and had the ball in his glove, but Collins wasn’t paying attention and he collided with Adduci. Nelson Cruz reached and would score on Kyle Seager’s single.
But Collins redeemed himself when he knocked his third hit of the day — and his second double — off Iwakuma. This time it was the Mariners who couldn’t cut it, and Robinson Cano’s error at second resulted in a booted ball toward second base and Collins with the perfect chance to scamper home from second.
At least, that’s how it went until K-Rod took the mound with a 1-1 game on his shoulders. He gave up back-to-back hits and the winning run. The Tigers offense would not do more than a pinch-hitting Andrew Romine hit with two outs.
Justin Verlander: He had several battles and needed 119 pitches to do it, but Verlander gave the Tigers seven strong innings and no earned runs.
Tyler Collins: Was the only Tiger with a hit in the game. Two of those hits were for doubles. He scored the tying run in the sixth. Sure, his poor defense/collision in center put the Tigers in a hole to begin with, but he rectified it and had a big day at the plate.
Francisco Rodriguez: Still isn’t right and after striking out Nelson Cruz, he gave up a double and an RBI single that gave the Mariners the lead. Bad. Very bad.
Tigers defense: Derpy. Enough said. Also, Collins gets an extra note for another poor throw in the ninth when he didn’t hit the cutoff man. The go-ahead run scored for the Mariners.
Tigers offense: Dried up.