Another fielding error comes back to bite Tigers in loss to Rangers

Nolan Bianchi, The Detroit News on

Published in Baseball

DETROIT — For a second straight game, an error in the infield did the Tigers in during the late stages of a loss to the Texas Rangers.

A day after the Tigers' poor ninth-inning fielding allowed the Rangers to steal a win at Comerica Park, the Rangers' winning run on Thursday scored in the eighth inning after the Tigers missed an easy opportunity to tag a runner on a rundown.

With one out and Leody Taveras at second, Marcus Semien hit a ground ball to shortstop Javier Báez, who caught the baserunner leaving early. But upon the ball being relayed to third baseman Gio Urshela, the tag could not be applied and Taveras made it safely to third.

Instead of being able to tag the base and end the inning on a ground ball to Spencer Torkelson the next at-bat, the Tigers' first baseman tried throwing it to second for a double play. But Torkelson's throw was off the mark, allowing Taveras to score the deciding run of a 9-7 Rangers win in the series finale.

Both starters — Tigers' Kenta Maeda and Rangers' Jack Leiter, the latter of whom was making his MLB debut — were roughed up by a pair of energetic offenses in the early goings. Maeda went 2 2/3 innings while giving up seven hits, six runs, two walks and three home runs with two strikeouts for the Tigers (10-9). Leiter, meanwhile, went 3 2/3 innings and gave up eight hits, seven runs, three walks and struck out three for the Rangers (11-9).

Riley Greene had a double and a triple, Báez had a pair of doubles and Mark Canha and Torkelson each recorded two walks, with Canha adding two singles and Torkelson a double. Semien, Jonah Heim and Adolis Garcia homered for Texas.

It didn't take Texas long to get on the board. After Maeda fell behind 2-0 in the first at-bat of the game, he served up a four-seam meatball that was deposited into the left-field bullpen by Semien for a 1-0 Rangers lead. Maeda gave up a single to Corey Seager the following batter but got out of the inning with a double play and a groundout.

The second inning featured more trouble for Maeda. He gave up a six-pitch leadoff walk to Rangers third baseman Josh Smith, an RBI double to Wyatt Langford and a two-run home run to Heim for a 4-0 Rangers lead with no outs.

The Tigers responded in their half of the second inning. Colt Keith drew a five-pitch walk to leadoff the inning and Urshela followed with a single to put two runners on for Báez, who turned on a first-pitch fastball and put it down the line for an RBI double to make it 4-1. Carson Kelly scored Urshela from third on a fielder's choice and Greene tripled to make it 4-3. Canha's second hit of the game brought home Greene and tied the game at 4.

By the time Maeda departed the game, though, the Rangers had another lead. Garcia launched a one-out home run to left center in the top of the third. Langford walked and Heim singled to make it 6-4 and end Maeda's day. Evan Carter scored Semien with a sacrifice fly the following inning.


The Tigers beat up Leiter in the bottom of the fourth to end his MLB debut with a thud.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Kerry Carpenter hit a long fly ball to center field that couldn't be corralled by center fielder Taveras and resulted in a two-run triple. Torkelson tied the game at 7 with an RBI double. Báez roped his second double of the game during the fifth inning.

Alex Faedo, who came on in relief for Maeda, pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings and struck out one. After Tyler Holton retired the side in order during the sixth, Holton then came back out for the seventh — but didn't find the same success.

Holton gave up two singles and hit Smith with a pitch to load the bases. Tigers right-hander Alex Lange came on with one out in the inning and struck out Langford and Heim to maintain an even score into the seventh-inning stretch.

Rangers reliever Jose Urena, who pitched for the Tigers in 2021, got Texas out of the fourth without any further damage and pitched scoreless fifth and sixth innings before returning for the seventh, where he got into a little bit of trouble. He walked Torkelson and gave up a single to Urshela before Rangers right-hander Jose Leclerc came in to shut down the threat.

The Tigers' eighth-inning error proved fatal, though the Tigers mustered a comeback attempt.

Greene and Canha each drew a one-out walk in the eighth but were both left on base as Carpenter and Torkelson were sat down on strikes. The Rangers added an insurance run off Tigers reliever Andrew Chafin in the ninth inning to make it 9-7.

With one out in the ninth, Urshela singled to keep the Tigers alive. Báez put a charge into a ninth-inning pitch, but his potential tying home run was caught on the warning track to end the game.

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