Detroit — The Tigers still have a game Sunday against the Angels at Comerica Park, but they’ve already lost another series.
That is six out of seven series since the All-Star break, if you are counting at home. On an evening manager Jim Leyland breathed fire in the clubhouse with the media, his team showed little of it on the field and fell meekly to the Angels, 10-1, before 38,783 bored fans.
The Angels blew open a close game with five runs in the fifth, mostly because the Tigers pitchers could not throw strikes and their hitters could not strike back at the plate. Tiger pitchers walked seven Angels and paid for most of them as they lost their fourth game in a row and 19th of the last 24 since the All-Star break.
The Angels go for the sweep with a 1:05 p.m. game Sunday at Comerica Park.
If you are expecting Leyland to come into the dressing room throwing chairs to fire up a bedazzled team, forget it.
“That is not what this team needs,” he said. “I am going to be positive with this team, not negative.”
The Tigers could not hit. They mustered just four hits and scored their only run in the first inning. Angels pitcher Scott Kazmir (8-9) missed the last 17 days with left shoulder fatigue but looked like he’d been pitching all along. He gave up just one run and three hits in five innings.
The Angels were even without outfielder Torii Hunter, who was suspended four games by Major League Baseball for arguing balls and strikes on Friday and throwing a bag of baseballs on the field. He apologized for his antics but it wasn’t enough to appease the league.
He wasn’t missed because the Angels ripped Tigers pitching for 13 hits while Kazmir kept them off-balance for much of the evening.
“He was good. He had good life,” Leyland said. “But right now, and I don’t want to take anything away from him, but right now we are making a lot of pitchers look pretty good.”
Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman (6-7), pitching on three days rest, set the tone by walking four batters in 4 1/3 innings. He also gave up four earned runs, four hits and threw two wild pitches. He was one of the Tigers’ better pitchers, although he threw just 49 strikes in 86 pitches.
He walked two batters in the first inning and right fielder Juan Rivera knocked in two runs with a two-out single.
“He did a heck of a job on three days rest,” Leyland said. “I thought he had really good stuff. His command surprisingly wasn’t as good. Normally when you pitch on three days rest your command is better. He didn’t come out of this, numbers-wise, as well as he should. Our bullpen did not shut it down at all and that hurt.”
The Tigers bullpen gave up five earned runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Bonderman struggled for much of the game but survived until the fifth, when the bullpen failed him. Bonderman walked Bobby Abreu and gave up a one-out run-scoring single to Alberto Callaspo. That’s when Leyland pulled him for Brad Thomas, who promptly walked Hideki Matsui. Maicer Izturis followed with an RBI double that pushed the Angels lead to 5-1.
The game got out or reach when shortstop Ramon Santiago bobbled a grounder by catcher Bobby Wilson, stepped on second for a force out but threw wild to first base to score two more runs.
“We got to stay together and push through this,” Santiago said.
Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson singled in the first and later scored on a Ryan Rayburn ground ball to second. But the Tigers were shut out the rest of the way. The Tigers have been outscored 24-8 during this four-game losing streak and are 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position during that span.
That has been a constant complaint for Leyland, who cannot seem to find any offense. He rested Brennan Boesch but brought him in for a pinch-hitter, and he shook things up again by batting Santiago second.
“We have to do quite a bit more offensively,” Leyland said. “We really are not getting any innings together. We are not putting guys on where we can get a single or double (to bring them in.).”
Angels at Tigers
First pitch: 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Comerica Park, Detroit
TV/radio: FSD/WXYT 97.1, 1270
* Trevor Bell, Angels (1-2, 5.90): The right-hander had been a reliever all season until last month. He’s allowed six runs on 12 hits over 8 2/3 innings in his two starts.
* Rick Porcello, Tigers (4-10, 5.91): The right-hander is coming off easily his worst start since being promoted. The White Sox rocked him for seven runs on eight hits Tuesday.