Rinse and repeat. The Tigers got a good effort from Daniel Norris but could not come through with the key hits as they fell to the Nationals 3-1 on Friday night in Detroit.
For five innings, Daniel Norris and Anibal Sanchez locked into a decent pitching duel. Both starters pitched through some traffic and made big pitches when needed. Norris was much more efficient of the two, but a long home run off the bat of Juan Soto put the Tigers down a run early.
Sanchie showed off the fourseam/cutter combo that helped rejuvenate his career and kept the ball on the edges and below the zone, unafraid to go into deep counts or issue walks. Nick Castellanos singled and Miguel Cabrera walked with one out in the first inning, but that scoring chance was squandered as were several other as the Tigers had a man on second base in three of the first four innings and didn’t score.
Norris did his thing, generally filling up the strike zone and pitching through a bit of minor trouble here and there. Finally, a single and a stolen base by Victor Robles gave the Nationals a scoring opportunity in the fifth inning, and Adam Eaton cashed in Robles with an RBI single.
After cleaning up the rest of the inning, Norris, who had a small but bloody cut on the knuckle of his left thumb had to be removed from the contest because they couldn’t get the bleeding under control in time. He was not pleased about it.
Meanwhile, the Tigers got on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the frame when Nick Castellanos crushed a 435 foot solo shot to center field. The two-out long ball was Castellanos’ eighth homer of the year.
Buck Farmer and Victor Alcantara had little trouble in tossing scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh respectively, but the offense continued to flail. Jeimer Candelario picked up a two-out single in the sixth for his second hit of the game. He then proceeded to steal second, but Harold Castro struck out to waste another opportunity.
The inevitable finally arrived in the eighth. Daniel Stumpf walked Adam Eaton on four straight pitches to lead off the inning, and then Anthony Rendon drove a fly ball to center field. Victor Reyes made the catch and then gunned down Eaton trying to advance to second base. Stumpf wasn’t done yet, however, and immediately walked Juan Soto on four pitches. Stumpf was lifted for Jose Cisnero, and Howie Kendrick drilled a 2-1 pitch to the wall in right field, and Soto scored while Castellanos threw the ball in to an empty second base instead of to the middle infielders set up for a relay home.
Fundamental baseball at its finest.
Things didn’t improve in the bottom of the inning. Christin Stewart and Brandon Dixon drew back-to-back one-out walks, but once again it was for nought. Jeimer Candelario lined a sharp one-hopper off the glove of first baseman Howie Kendrick, but Kendrick recovered to throw Dixon out at second after he was forced to dodge the ball off the bat before running on to second base. Niko Goodrum was punched out on a check swing call, and another opportunity was wasted.
Austin Adams got three quick outs in the top of the ninth, leaving the Tigers one last chance against Nats closer...Fernando Rodney? Signs and wonders, folks. The 42-year-old with the ageless fastball/changeup combination had no trouble putting the Tigers away.
The losing streak now stands at eight straight.
Reyes went 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot as he filled in for JaCoby Jones, but he did manage a highlight along the way.
Castellanos probably cost the Tigers a run in the eighth with a mental mistake, but he had already given the team their only run with this blast. So, net neutral for the day I suppose.