Drew Smyly had some of the best stuff of his life Friday night.
He just didn’t have enough of it.
Smyly struck out a career-high 11 batters, but couldn’t get out of the sixth inning, allowing the two runs that gave the Los Angeles Angels a 2-1 victory.
"That’s a tough loss — a really tough loss as a team," Smyly said, obviously frustrated. "I felt great the whole game — the best I’ve felt — and I was executing all of my pitches. I felt really confident out there, but sometimes you still end up having to lose."
For the second straight start, Smyly took a no-hitter into the fifth inning — he was perfect Friday through 13 batters.
"I noticed — you always know when you have something like that going — but you aren’t really thinking about that in a 1-0 game," he said. "That’s a great lineup, so you are just focused on getting outs and trying to protect that lead. There’s not much room for error."
Smyly got the first out of the sixth, but Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game at 1. Smyly then got one of his biggest outs of the season, striking out Mike Trout for the second out of the inning, and Brad Aumsus chose to intentionally walk Albert Pujols to bring up lefty Efren Navarro.
Smyly got ahead in the count, but Navarro grounded a 1-2 cutter up the middle. Smyly’s desperate attempt at a kick save came up empty, and the ball slowly bounced over second base for an RBI single.
"That’s what really hurts, because as a left-handed pitcher, I’ve got to be able to get out lefties in a situation like that," he said. "I had him set up with two strikes, and I just didn’t make a pitch. It sucks that it turns out to be the difference in the game."
Al Alburquerque came in to get the last out of the inning, and Detroit’s bullpen kept the Angels from adding to their lead, but the Tigers’ only run came on a solo homer by Miguel Cabrera.
"We couldn’t get anything going," said Torii Hunter, who had one of Detroit’s five hits. "Smyly pitched a great game, but Skaggs has an awkward delivery, and he was tough. Their bullpen is really good, and they’ve got some new guys that we haven’t seen in a while, so they had us off-balance."
Hunter singled with two out in the ninth, but Ausmus decided not to bring in Rajai Davis for a steal attempt that could have gotten the tying run into scoring position.
"We thought about it, but we felt that we were in a situation where Torii could score on a double," Ausmus said.
The stolen base wouldn’t have mattered much, as Huston Street struck out Nick Castellanos to end the game.
"It was just one of those nights where we didn’t get any offense," Ausmus said. "We only had five hits, and Miggy had two of them. That’s baseball."
Justin Verlander pitches for Detroit Saturday night, while Wyandotte native Matt Shoemaker is scheduled to start for the Angels. Shoemaker, who grew up cheering for the Tigers while attending Trenton High School and Eastern Michigan, will be facing his hometown team for the first time.
Tigers Live will air on FOX Sports Detroit at 8:00 p.m., with the first pitch scheduled for 9:05.