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Rays 7, Tigers 2: Mize struggles, bats sputter

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Tampa jumped on Casey Mize early and their pitching staff shut down the Tigers lineup.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers managed just three hits in this one as the Rays beat up on Casey Mize and Bryan Garcia to even the series at a game apiece.

It just wasn’t the Tigers day. Casey Mize was due for another short outing, but this wasn’t quite what manager A.J. Hinch had in mind. After a scoreless first, Mize allowed a pair of triples to Joey Wendle and Kevin Kiermaier as the Rays pushed three runs across in the second inning. The long inning would be Mize’s last.

Meanwhile, Rays’ starter Chris Archer had the offense in check. The Tigers had a few hard hit balls early on that could’ve changed the course of the game, but they went right to Rays’ defenders. Otherwise there were a lot of routine ground balls and fly balls as Archer struck out just two over four innings of work, and didn’t allow a hit until his final frame.

Jonathan Schoop doubled to center field to lead off the fourth, and after Robbie Grossman flew out, allowing Schoop to advance to third, Miguel Cabrera drilled a classic oppo single to score him. In the fifth, Victor Reyes reached on a Taylor Walls error with two outs, and then stole second base, advancing to third on an errant throw from Mike Zunino. Akil Baddoo locked up in a six-pitch battle with reliever Dietrich Enns but ultimately whiffed on back-to-back fastballs after getting ahead 3-1.

The Tigers wouldn’t muster a threat from that point on. In fact, they didn’t record another hit until Robbie Grossman homered to right, his 23rd, against Shawn Armstrong with one out in the ninth inning.

Bryan Garcia took over with a 1-2-3 third inning, but immediately allowed a solo shot on a hanging changeup to Wendle to start off the fourth. He struck out Zunino, but Kiermaier doubled and after Garcia got Walls to ground out, Hinch turned to Ian Krol to get the final out of the inning. Instead, Brandon Lowe singled home Kiermaier before Krol got Austin Meadows to fly out and end the inning.

Drew Hutchison took over for the Tigers, and the Rays got a lead off single from Nelson Cruz in the fifth. They moved him to third on a sacrifice and a wild pitch. With one out, Randy Arozarena drilled a fly ball deep to right-center field that Akil Baddoo ran down at the warning track to save a probable triple, but Cruz trotted home to make it 6-1 Rays.

Overall, Hutchison was pretty effective, eating up four innings with just the one run allowed and sparing the rest of the bullpen. He also got a couple of nice defensive plays turned behind him to help out, as he struck out only two hitters.

Rookie Drew Carlton took over in the top of the ninth with the game basically out of reach and allowed one run on two hits. Grossman’s late blast was one of the few sparks in an otherwise lackluster effort.

The series will now be decided on Sunday, with a pair of excellent young power arms on the mound. Tarik Skubal will duel Luis Patiño at 12:10 p.m. EDT.