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Diamondbacks 7, Tigers 5: Bullpen blows lead to extend losing streak to nine games

The Tigers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they get swept in their third straight series.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For a brief moment, it seemed like this would be the day things went right for the Detroit Tigers. But thanks to another ninth-inning meltdown by a typically good reliever, the Arizona Diamondbacks scored four runs in the ninth to flip a two-run lead to a two-run deficit and the Tigers dropped the finale of their series by the score of 7-5.

They have lost nine straight games and dropped 11 of their past 12. They have been swept in three consecutive series and have lost their last 4, falling to 11 games below the .500 mark and currently sit six games behind the Twins in the AL Central, after sitting just a game back on May 28th.

Will Vest got the role of “opener” to start the game, and delivered a scoreless inning, despite giving up a triple to the second batter, rookie sensation Corbin Carroll. With Carroll standing on third, and only one out, Vest retired the next two batters popping up on his slider for easy outs.

Zac Gallen looked like he might settle in early, but with two outs, Kerry Carpenter and Javier Báez hit back-to-back singles, and then Nick Maton hit a deep drive to the opposite corner that would have cleared the bases, but it bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double and Báez had to hold at third, and the Tigers had an early 1-0 lead.

The lead didn't last long, as Joey Wentz took the mound to begin his start and promptly gave up a walk and then a two-run home run to Pavin Smith. Just like that, the Diamondbacks had a 2-1 lead and things were looking like they would be heading for a lopsided loss. But, to his credit, Wentz refocused and set down the next three hitters easily on 10 pitches to end the inning. It kicked off an impressive string of 12 straight batters retired by Wentz on just 46 pitches.

The Tigers went down quietly in the second inning, but they got to Gallen again in the third inning. Torkelson doubled sharply over the head of McCarthy with one out, and then Carpenter followed with a sharp single, which Torkeslon didn't read at first and stopped at third. But he came home on a sacrifice fly from Báez and the game was tied at two a piece.

The Tigers would really open things up on Gallen in the third inning when Miguel Cabrera singled sharply with one out, and then with two outs, Jake Marisnick doubled up the gap and Miggy turned on the jets to score all the way from 1st without a throw, and give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Zack McKinstry increased the lead with a big two-run home run to right center and just like that, the Tigers had a three-run lead, the first time they held a three-run lead in the month of June, and their first three-run lead since their walkoff win over the White Sox on May 28th.

In the sixth inning, Wentz started showing signs of coming apart, missing the zone with his first six pitches, and Hinch quickly got the bullpen throwing. He managed to get Carroll to fly out but it would be the end of his day, and it marked a rather successful outing despite his early struggles. Jose Cisnero came on to relieve him and he worked a clean inning to end the threat, thanks to a great diving catch in the corner from McKinstry to end the inning.

The Tigers threatened again in the sixth inning putting the first two out and eventually ending the day for Zac Gallen. But they couldn't score as Carpenter struck out against the reliever Kyle Nelson with runners on the corners to end the threat. Cisnero walked the leadoff batter in the seventh and Hinch made the quick change to Chasen Shreve. He gave up a single to put two on but got the next two and then gave way to Alex Lange for the final out. Hinch was taking no chances in this game, his team desperately needing a win.

The Tigers went quietly in the bottom of the seventh inning against new reliever Kevin Ginkel. Lange continued to work in the top of the eighth, as Hinch had used him early specifically to face the heart of the Diamondbacks order, but his struggles continued as he allowed doubles to rookie terror Corbin Carroll and first baseman Christian Walker to cut the Tigers lead to 5-3.

With the bullpen plan ruined, Lange gave way to Tyler Holton. The lefty struggled to find the zone, coming on and walking the first two hitters to load the bases with two outs. It was an all too familiar feeling and it seemed like a big blow was about to come, but Holton struck out Ahmed to end the threat and preserve the lead.

The Tigers tried to start something in the bottom of the eighth when Schoop hit a one-out single, but a double play ended the mini threat and sent things to the top of the ninth, with Jason Foley getting the call for the final three outs.

Foley got Moreno to ground out to start the inning, but Rivera slapped a single passed a shifted Zack Short. Foley couldn’t get Ketel Marte to bite on his changeups and walked him to bring up the red-hot Corbin Carroll with two on. The good news, was Foley kept him in the ballpark, but the bad news was it was an RBI single to cut the lead to one run with two on. Foley managed to get Gurriel to fly out to short right for the second down, and it brought up the power hitter Christian Walker. Foley got ahead of him 0-2 but he went down and got a low slider for a line drive to right. Carpenter then bobbled the ball making the transfer which allowed both runners to score and just like that the Tigers were down 6-5. Geraldo Perdomo followed with a single to push the score to 7-5.

“Deflating” doesn't even begin to describe the feeling of watching your team go from a 96.6% win probability to 16,8% in 5 batters.

Former Tiger Andrew Chafin came on for the bottom of the ninth, and Andy Ibañez came on to pinch hit for McKinstry, drawing howls of protest from fans, but he lead off with a leadoff triple. Spencer Torkelson followed with a soft line drive right at the first baseman for the first out, but Carpenter drew a walk and that was the end of the day for Chafin. Scott McGough came on to face Báez who fouled off a couple of middle fastballs but struck out on a splitter for the second out. This left it up to Nick Maton who grounded out to end the game.

It was the fourth game in the month of June that a Tiger’s reliever was saddled with a loss, which is particularly frustrating as the late-inning bullpen had been an area of strength for the Tigers through May. The Tigers will get no relief as they will face the Atlanta Braves, owner of the best record in the National League, and 8-2 in their last 10 games. It's a full tailspin for the Tigers and their fans can only sit and watch, hoping the next game will mark the end of it.


Welcome back, Carpenter - With his three hits today, Kerry Carpenter is off to a sizzling start since his return to the lineup. For the entire game today, he is not 8-12 since his return and has been a desperately needed bat added to a struggling lineup.

NL Rookie of the Year, Corbin Carroll - Carroll leaves Detroit after continuing to pad his stats to a possible NL ROY award. In the series, he went 6-14, with 2 HR, 2 2B, 1 3B, and a SB. Kid could be something special.

Life Goals - Congrats to Louise McVicker, on completing the tour-de-MLB, and what a great way to end it in style!