Tigers try again against Rangers after losing series opener

The Detroit Tigers are beset by injuries and illness, adapting on the fly and trying to piece together a lineup that can do some damage as they battle the Texas Rangers on Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

The Rangers are in a similar predicament, with three-fourths of their opening day infield still on the disabled list.

The Tigers will send right-hander Mike Fiers (2-2, 5.00 ERA) to the mound for the middle game of the series to oppose Texas left-hander Mike Minor (3-1, 4.36).

Having some young and relatively unproven talent did not stop the teams from playing a barnburner on Monday as Texas came back from a five-run, sixth-inning deficit to roar to a 7-6 win over Detroit on Monday.

Nomar Mazara ripped a home run in the second inning and Shin-Soo Choo and Jurickson Profar had run-scoring hits in the seventh inning to allow the Rangers to complete their comeback and snap a two-game losing streak.

Detroit mustered 13 hits off five Texas pitchers but could not solve Rangers closer Keone Kela, who struck out two batters in the ninth inning to collect his seventh save of the season.

“It was a tough game in the beginning, but we managed to stay in it and fought back to get the W,” said Texas second baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who had a two-run double as part of the comeback in the sixth. “We had some plays that didn’t go our way, but we picked each other up and did what we had to do.”

The win marked only the third time this season that the Rangers were able to open a series with a victory and was just their sixth win at home in 21 games.

The Tigers, who have lost four of their past five games, have a makeshift lineup because of injuries and a flu bug making its way through the clubhouse, resulting in John Hicks not only playing first base but batting cleanup.

“I feel a lot more comfortable now than I did when I was getting an at-bat every few days,” Hicks said. “Obviously, it’s not great not having all our guys in the lineup, because they are all a huge part of this team. But obviously it’s good to get at-bats.”

Fiers will take the ball for his sixth start of the year after receiving a no-decision in his last start on Thursday at Kansas City. He has made six appearances, including five starts, in his career against Texas and has a 0-3 record with an 8.90 ERA.

Fiers started three games against Texas last year, going 0-2 with a 12.21 ERA. In three career outings, including two starts, at Globe Life Park, Fiers is 0-1 with a 10.05 ERA.

Minor will make his seventh start of the season on Tuesday, his first start on regular four days’ rest after working on extended rest in each of his first six outings. All three of his wins have come against American League East opposition after he picked up the victory in an 11-5 Texas win on Thursday night against Boston.

Minor has gone 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in seven games (just one start) in his career versus Detroit. He has not started against the Tigers since April 28, 2013, but made six relief appearances in 2017 against Detroit, going 0-0 with a 5.06 ERA and picking up two saves in as many opportunities.