All good things must come to an end, and Rick Porcello's shutout streak bit the dust in a big way on a national stage. The Tampa Bay Rays pounded 19 hits and won 7-3, also getting an elite outing from David Price along the way.
Porcello, who's shutout streak had been the talk of baseball, was immediately put on blast by the Rays and their aggressive bats. A Ben Zobrist single and Matt Joyce home run put Detroit in an early 3-0 hole. The Tigers struck quickly for a run off Price after a double by Rajai Davis and a sacrifice fly by Miguel Cabrera.
From then on until the middle innings, the pitchers duel that everyone envisioned coming in took shape. Both Price and Porcello settled in, not allowing a run until the fifth, when the Tigers' pitcher was the one victimized. Evan Longoria's RBI single helped cash in another run, and Tampa Bay led 4-1. More trouble came for Porcello in the sixth, when the Rays struck for three more runs, the big damage coming on a Desmond Jennings home run that made it 7-1.
Torii Hunter answered with a home run of his own in the seventh, but Detroit's attempt at a rally fell short—literally—when Eugenio Suarez stumbled coming around third on a double by Austin Jackson. The Tigers got the run back in the bottom of the ninth on a home run by J.D. Martinez and chased Price, but couldn't get the clutch hitting late to finish a comeback in the rain.
Top Tiger: Nobody. For the last few days, the Tigers have been going through the motions a bit once again. Clutch hits have been missing, the starting pitching has been spotty and as a result, a three game losing streak has erased the good momentum from a sweep of the Athletics last week.
Bungling Bengal: Rick Porcello. Not exactly a fantastic way to kick off what the Tigers were calling the "Pick Rick" campaign prior to Sunday night's start. Though Porcello had motored through his last two starts, he hit the skids quickly on Sunday night in front of a nation, giving up seven earned runs and 11 hits. The rough night doesn't erase what had been done, but did
The Turning Point: Matt Joyce homers in the first. For Porcello, things went bad in a hurry. The 1-0 lead wasn't significant, but when Joyce homered over the right field wall to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead, there was a definite feeling of pause, especially considering David Price was on the hill. The titanic blast took the crowd out of the game, and helped Detroit have to come from behind yet again early in the night. That's tough if not impossible duty going against Price.
Stat Of The Game: 2, the number of runs David Price had allowed in each of his last four starts against the Tigers. Tonight, he dominated them again, allowing three in coming within an eyelash of completing the game. "He's one of the best in the league, one of the best in the game, and it's tough, when they get a lead like that, we know it's going to be tough to come back on a guy like Price," Brad Ausmus said. It seems the only thing that slowed Price on this night was a freak rainstorm at the end of the night which broke his focus and may have contributed to a pair of walks that gave Detroit life.
Quote To Note: "It's not indicative of the type of pitcher Rick is. Timing wise, it wasn't great for him, but he still deserves to be an all-star." —Brad Ausmus. Before the game, Ausmus noted that he hoped Porcello had a nice night to enhance his status prior to the game. With a bad start, that didn't happen, but Ausmus didn't back off his belief that Porcello belongs.
What's Next: Detroit gets a day off to recharge after a horrible weekend, and gets set to battle the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday and Wednesday in the first half finale at Comerica Park. Justin Verlander (7-7) draws the first start against Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-4).
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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