DETROIT — There was a tiny silver lining in a very dark cloud for the Tigers Thursday night.
As ugly as their 10-3 loss was, it wasn’t as bad as the last time they played the Texas Rangers.
For much of the night though, as the Rangers accumulated 26 baserunners, it looked like the game might get as bad as the 15-5 humiliation that ended last season’s ALCS.
“We got the (crap) beat out of us, that’s all,” Jim Leyland said. “Those things happen.”
Just like it did on that October night in Texas, the Tigers pitching staff melted down against the Rangers’ loaded offense. Adam Wilk gave up 10 hits in the four innings of his second career start, and middle relievers Collin Balester and Daniel Schlereth combined to allow seven runs in less than four innings.
“They weren’t hitting the ball extremely hard off me, but they kept piling up hits,” Wilk said. “I’m a lefty, and they loaded their lineup with righties, but I was still getting groundballs. That’s how I get outs, but they must have found every hole on the field.
“I did leave the one pitch up to Napoli on the homer, but other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing I did.”
That’s not the case for Schlereth, who gave up five runs in his inning and saw his ERA jump to 12.60. There’s a good chance that Schlereth may find himself back in Toledo when Luis Marte is ready to come off the disabled list. Marte, who pulled a hamstring at the end of spring training, is eligible to return at any time.
“I feel fine out there, but the results are obviously nowhere near what I need,” Schlereth said. “I’ve never struggled like this in my career, but I’ve got to figure out a way to get through this. The good news is that we’ve got well over 100 games to go, so I’ve still got time to make up for these early games.”
Detroit’s hitters didn’t have a much better night, only collecting five hits off four Ranger pitchers. Japanese star Yu Darvish made his first start against Detroit, allowing one run on two hits in his 6 1/3 innings. Darvish wasn’t overpowering and didn’t have pinpoint control — he walked five — but the Tigers couldn’t do much against his six-pitch arsenal.
“He was OK, but we should have scored more runs against him,” Ramon Santiago said. “He started out throwing mostly fastballs, and then he started mixing in a bunch of breaking stuff.”
When the Tigers chased Darvish in the seventh, they had two on with only one out, and were only behind 5-1. The problem? The Rangers were able to bring in Detroit’s biggest nemesis, Alexi Ogando. Ogando, who went 5-0 against the Tigers last season, retired the only two batters he faced to end the threat.
The Rangers then made it 10-1 with their five-spot off Schlereth, and Detroit was left fighting for dignity.
NOTES: After a great start, Austin Jackson has slipped back into the struggles that took away most of his offensive value last season. In his last five games, Jackson is hitting just .100 and has struck out nine times in 20 at-bats. With two strikeouts against Texas, Jackson is back among the AL leaders with 17 in 13 games. … Darvish’s win kept alive a remarkable winning streak that has spanned two continents. Counting his seven seasons in Japan, Darvish is 51-0 in the 56 starts where he has received at least four runs of support.