Detroit’s start­ing pitch­ing strug­gles again as home se­ries ends in split

Baltimore Sun - - BASEBALL - By Dave Hogg

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.

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