DETROIT - They lost on a one-hopper that squirted between first and second, off the bat of Tampa Bay’s Mallex Smith, who hit the game-winning RBI off one of the more reliable Tigers’ relievers.
They lost despite having their best pitcher – Michael Fulmer – on the mound. Despite Fulmer looking a lot like his old self – he’d given up five runs in his last two starts.
They lost because Ian Kinsler couldn’t quite make a play on a hard-hit screamer. Because they couldn’t solve the Rays’ Chris Archer and his nasty slider. Because they had won two in a row, and the math said it was time to lose.
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It feels that way this summer, doesn’t it?
The Tigers look like they’re about to put a run together and then they don’t. As for their 3-2 loss this afternoon at Comerica Park, well, it wasn’t a bad loss.
“Just a pitcher’s duel,” said Tigers’ manager, Brad Ausmus. “And they scratched out one more run.”
Both Archer and Fulmer were dominant early. The first run didn’t come until the fifth inning, when the Rays’ Colby Rasmus doubled and then scored when Robertson singled.
In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers answered. Andrew Romine singled. Jose Iglesias grounded out, moving Romine to second.
Then Kinsler, after working the count full, ripped a double into the leftfield corner.
The Tigers took the lead in the sixth when Miguel Cabrera hit an opposite-field solo home run. It was his seventh homer of the season.
Beyond that, he extended his hitting streak to seven games and is batting .379 during that time. Ausmus said after the game that Cabrera is finally starting to look like himself.
Meanwhile, Alex Avila kept his summer going nicely. He had two more hits – his 12th multi-hit game of the season.
In all, the Tigers had eight hits against one of the better pitchers in the American League.
“It’s tough to hit guys like Archer,” said Ausmus.
Fulmer pitched well, too. He allowed three runs on six hits but couldn’t quite get out of the seventh inning. Alex Wilson came in with a runner on second and gave up that chopper between first and second by Smith for the go-ahead run.
Shane Greene followed with a scoreless eighth. Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth.
The Tigers fell back to three games under .500 (32-35).
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