Detroit’s starting pitching struggles again as home series ends in split
DETROIT — Detroit’s bullpen is doing everything it can to help the Tigers get into the postseason.
The relievers just aren’t getting any help from the starting rotation.
In the final three games of Detroit’s home series with the floundering Minnesota Twins, the starters lasted 91⁄ innings, allowing 17 runs. Mike Pelfrey gave up four runs Thursday while getting only five outs in a 5-1 loss.
“I don’t know how many innings our relievers threw in this series — maybe 20 or something,” Pelfrey said. “We can’t keep expecting those guys to pitch eight innings a night.”
The Tigers were able to salvage Wednesday night’s game, thanks to five scoreless innings from the bullpen, but lost Tuesday and Thursday to end up with a split of the four-game series.
“The bullpen is doing a great job and keeping us in games, but we can’t get anything started,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
By going 2-2 against a team that is on pace to lose 100 games, the Tigers hurt themselves in a crowded American League wild-card race.
“This is obviously not what we wanted,” Ausmus said. “Anytime you lose four out of seven, it isn’t a good homestand.”
Hector Santiago (12-8) held Detroit to one run in 52⁄ innings to continue his rebound after a post-trade slump.
“Hector had to dance out of trouble a few times, but he did a nice job,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “If he pitches like this, his spot with us next year will take care of itself.”
After moving from the Angels to the Twins at the trade deadline, Santiago lost his first four starts, posting a 10.89 ERA. He’s 2-0 in the last four with a 1.82 ERA.
Pelfrey (4-10) lost in his first major league appearance since July 31. He started the game with a 60-pitch limit, but only lasted 36.
The Twins took the lead in the second on Max Kepler’s RBI single, and he moved to third when first baseman Miguel Cabrera missed a pickoff attempt. Eduardo Escobar singled to make it 2-0, and Eddie Rosario beat out a bunt single.
The Tigers had two runners on in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but Santiago escaped all three jams without allowing a run.
Blaine Hardy kept the Tigers in the game with 31⁄ scoreless innings of relief and Kyle Ryan added two more, but the offense couldn’t take advantage.