For the first time since Tommy Bridges in 1932, a Detroit Tigers pitcher completed four innings or fewer and conceded six walks or more without allowing a run.
That isn’t a club Bryan Garcia wanted to join, but he became the fourth member of the club for the franchise on Friday in the second of four games against the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park. Still, the ex-closer turned in another decent outing in his second career MLB start.
As Garcia escaped jams, his offense perked up for three runs across the first and second innings. But the Tigers couldn’t avoid the consequences of the pitching staff’s season-high 13 walks in a 5-3 loss in front of 21,547 fans.
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Rookie center fielder Riley Greene led the early offense for the Tigers (42-66) with a two-run home run — the third homer of his MLB career — to take a 3-0 lead in the second inning. He connected on a second-pitch two-seam fastball from Rays right-hander Corey Kluber and sent the ball over the wall in left-center field.
It was Greene’s first opposite-field homer.
Kluber allowed three runs on seven hits, without allowing a walk, over his innings, throwing 65 of 84 pitches for strikes. He struck out five batters and produced 12 swings and misses, including five with his curveball.
The Tigers scored their first run in the first, opening with Greene’s leadoff single. A one-out single from Javier Báez upped the pressure on Kluber, and with two outs, Jeimer Candelario delivered a two-strike RBI single for a 1-0 advantage.
After Victor Reyes’ second-inning double, the Tigers had four batters reach safely throughout the remainder of the game.
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Relief is wild
After Garcia, the Tigers’ bullpen needed to get through the final five innings.
To do so, manager AJ Hinch called on six relievers. In the process, though, the Rays scored five runs — including three in the eighth inning — to steal their second win in the series. Right-hander Joe Jiménez, who got the final out in the seventh, allowed three runs in the eighth without recording an out.
That included Jiménez uncharacteristically walking back-to-back batters.
Brandon Lowe then scored them both for a 4-3 lead on a double to right field, and he advanced to third base on the unsuccessful throw home. Ex-Tiger Isaac Paredes, traded to the Rays in April for outfielder Austin Meadows, upped Tampa Bay’s lead to 5-3 with an ensuing RBI single to right field.
The Rays scored their first two runs in the fifth and sixth innings, with those runs charged to right-handers Will Vest and Jason Foley.
Facing Vest in the fifth, David Peralta drilled a two-out double for the first run. Left-hander Andrew Chafin replaced Foley with two runners on in the sixth, and on Chafin’s first pitch, Lowe put a fastball into center field for an RBI single and the second run.
Left-handed closer Gregory Soto, in a non-save situation, pitched a scoreless ninth. He did not issue a walk.
Here’s how the 13 walks were distributed: Garcia (six), Vest (three), Jiménez (three) and right-hander Jose Cisnero (one). Detroit’s franchise record for walks in a nine-inning game is 15, which has happened twice.
Garcia gets along
Through two innings, Garcia had faced 10 batters and walked five of them.
He walked two batters in the first and three more in the second. His defense executed a double play after Lowe’s leadoff walk in the first. A one-out single in the second from Randy Arozarena was erased when catcher Tucker Barnhart threw down to Báez to catch him trying to steal second base.
Then, Garcia walked three straight batters: Francisco Mejia, Roman Quinn and Taylor Walls. With the bases loaded, Lowe popped out in foul territory to end the inning. After two innings, Garcia had thrown 47 pitches.
But the 27-year-old retired six of the final seven batters he faced to complete four innings and end his outing. He walked six, gave up one hit and struck out three batters, throwing 36 of 72 pitches for strikes.
Garcia threw 41 two-seam fastballs, 17 changeups and 14 sliders, with his slider generating three of his four swings and misses. He has a 2.35 ERA over two starts this season, spanning 7⅔ innings.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers walk 13 in 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays