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Marlins 6, Tigers 3: Close just doesn’t cut it, Tigers drop 8th straight

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The Tigers’ offense got going early and Daniel Norris pitched a quality, start but the losing streak still continues.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As the losing streak reached seven-plus games long, the Detroit Tigers’ fan base grew more and more restless. To add injury to insult, the hometown team dropped the first game of their series to the worst team — yes, there still are clubs below the boys from Detroit, at least in the stat columns — in baseball, being the Miami Marlins. At some point, something has got to give.

Wednesday night was not that night, as the Tigers lost 6-3.

The Tigers started off strong, scoring a run in each of the first three innings. The first tally came after Gordon Beckham led off the game with a double, and was subsequently knocked in on a single by the following batter, Niko Goodrum, to put the good guys on the board first.

The second run was scored by John Hicks, who got on board with a one out single. JaCoby Jones followed with a fielder’s choice, with the help of a throwing error by third baseman Brian Anderson that put Jones and Hicks on second and third bases, respectively. Beckham came through again, this time with an RBI groundout to make the score 2-0.

The third inning saw Ronny Rodriguez and Christin Stewart get into the action. The former singled with two outs to keep the inning alive, with that latter following up with a line drive double to put the third run up on the scoreboard. It is good to see Stewart come through in the clutch.

Meanwhile, starter Daniel Norris kept the Marlins at bay for the first five innings, allowing only four hits — all singles — while striking out four in the process as well. His scoreless streak ended in the sixth with one out when he surrendered a solo home run to Garrett Cooper on a fastball right over the plate. He then rebounded to get the final two outs, including a strikeout of Brian Anderson.

The bats, however, returned to their dormant state for the rest of the game. They managed to put two on to start the sixth with singles from Rodriguez and Stewart, only to squander their opportunity after a fly out and a ground ball double play. They would later regret missing out on that opportunity.

Norris came back out for the seventh inning and was greeted with a leadoff single by Harold Ramirez. He was quickly replaced by Buck Farmer, who gave up a single to put runners on the corners, and then served up a line-drive double through the right-center gap to Neil Walker, tying the game. He got the next batter to strike out before surrendering the go-ahead run on a single by Miguel Rojas. That would be the end of Buck’s evening.

Victor Alcántara was brought in to stop the bleeding. John Hicks played his part gunning down a steal attempt at second and finishing off the inning for Alcántara fielding a soft grounder in front of the plate. For the second night in a row, however, the Tigers relinquished a lead in the late innings.

Now down 4-3, the Tigers’ offense sputtered through the first two batters, both going down easily. However, a hit-by-pitch by Niko Goodrum sparked a potential two out rally. After a Nicholas Castellanos single put runners on the corners, Miguel Cabrera added to the LOBster feast by grounding out softly to end the frame.

Alcántara scratched the scab and opened the wound into full bleed in the top of the eighth, walking the leadoff batter and then surrendering a two-run homer to Anderson to put the Marlins up by three. He bounced back to retire the next three hitters, but the damage was already done.

After failing to capitalize on a rare single by Josh Harrison in the top of bottom of the frame, Zac Reininger came in to mop up the mess to start the ninth. A leadoff walk threatened to continue the bloodletting, but he managed to apply the double play tourniquet, bringing the Marlins to their final out on offense. Zac did allow a hit to the next batter Rojas, but eventually got out of the inning unscathed.

Miami brought in Sergio Romo to close out the game, and the Tigers went out with merely a whimper, going down 1-2-3 to end the inning, the game, but not the losing streak — which is now officially eight games long.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the game

Good: Daniel Norris pitched a very solid game to earn a notch in the nebulous Quality Start column. He worked efficiently and effectively, keeping his offspeed pitches down and getting some ugly swings on his slider. The lone dinger came off a mistake that he knew he had made as soon as it left his hand.

Bad: The bullpen completely blew the game open after Norris’ fine outing. It might have been a bad idea for Gardy to send him back out in the seventh, and history has shown Farmer does not do well coming into games with inherited runners. Then with Alcántara’s shaky eighth, the game was pretty much out of reach for the Tigers’ bats.

Meh: The offense got started early, manufacturing runs off solid contact and defensive miscues, giving Norris a cushion to work with that undoubtedly played into his performance. The lumber then returned to its slumber after the third inning, reverting back to the impotence that has been a trademark of the lineup this season. Christin Stewart did manage to go 3-4 on the day, which is certainly a silver lining.

Moment of the Game:

Apparently Daniel Stumpf and Sandy Alcántara engaged in a good old national anthem standoff... which I had never heard of before until this evening. Apparently, Stumpf was the winner. It would be the only victory for the Tigers this evening.