Believe it or not, the Tigers had every opportunity to beat the Atlanta Braves on Sunday and complete a second-straight series win. Instead, they left nine runners on base, went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and committed three errors, losing the game in sloppy fashion, 7-4.
The Tigers were able to make Atlanta starter Julio Teheran work, collecting five hits and three walks over five innings but were unable to cash in when opportunities presented themselves. It started early, as Detroit left runners on the corners in the first inning, left them loaded in the fifth and squandered a first-and-third situation when Nicholas Castellanos grounded into a double play to end the seventh.
In contrast, Matthew Boyd did not give the Braves many chances to score, but they — well, Dansby Swanson — jumped when they were available. The former No. 1 overall pick hit a two-run home run in the third then knocked an RBI double in the fifth, serving as the only three runs allowed by Boyd.
A glimmer of hope shone through when Grayson Greiner and JaCoby Jones hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning, tying the score at three.
However, the good feeling did not last long. Joe Jimenez entered for the bottom of the eighth, walked Swanson and then allowed an RBI double to Freddie Freeman. A ninth inning home run from Christin Stewart would have negated this, but the Braves continued the onslaught, as an error, sacrifice fly and triple led to several more runs as the Braves managed to bury the Tigers.
Nick Ramirez continues to quietly be one of the best pitchers in the Tigers’ bullpen. He did not allow a runner in two innings of work, striking out two and lowering his ERA to 2.50.
Detroit’s top five hitters in the lineup — Niko Goodrum, Christin Stewart, Castellanos, Brandon Dixon and John Hicks — combined for 15 runners left on base. It is hard to win games when the guys who are supposed to carry the offensive load are not driving in their runs.
With three on Sunday, the Tigers have committed 13 errors in their last 10 games.