Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Rangers 2
June, 25, 2012
By David Collier | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got in an early hole and were unable to dig their way out. Justin Grimm, making his second major league start, was hard-pressed to get an out and only lasted an inning-plus on the mound. The Detroit Tigers got an 8-2 win in the series opener in front of an announced crowd of 36,920. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Rangers are behind 1-0 in a series for the first since Oakland won Game 1 of a four-game series June 4. Texas holds a 4 1/2-game lead on the Los Angeles Angels, who were off Monday, in the American League West.
Rough first: Grimm had another tough first inning in his second big league start. In his first start against the Astros, Grimm gave up a run in the first on a solo home run by Jed Lowrie. Monday night, the Tigers did a little more damage. Grimm surrendered seven hits -- four singles and three doubles -- in the frame to fall into a 5-0 hole.
Defensive mishaps: While Grimm obviously didn't have his best stuff, his defense could have made things easier on him. Leonys Martin took a bad route on a leadoff double in the first by Austin Jackson. It appeared Martin could have made a play on the ball. The second batter, Quintin Berry, laid down a bunt toward third that Michael Young, who was playing first, charged in on, and Ian Kinsler failed to get over to cover first.
Hamilton at it again: It didn't take long for Josh Hamilton to give the fans in attendance a souvenir, and no, we aren't talking about a ball. In Hamilton's first at-bat, he let go of the bat not once, but twice. The first bat reached the stands, while the second one landed just shy of the first row a good ways past the infield dirt.
Early exit: Grimm's second inning wasn't much different than the first. After giving up a leadoff walk and single, Michael Kirkman came on in relief. Grimm gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk in one-plus innings.
Role reversal: In Rick Porcello's first outing this season against the Rangers, he lasted just one inning and gave up nine runs (eight earned) in a loss back on April 21. On Monday, it was Grimm who lasted just an inning and Porcello who pitched a gem. Porcello went six innings, giving up one run on six hits and three walks. He also struck out seven.
Left them loaded: The Rangers offense was stagnant most of the night, but in the sixth they loaded the bases with two outs. Mike Napoli worked a full count before swinging through a pitch to strike out. The Rangers left 12 runners on base and were just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Kirkman and Lowe save pen: If there is any positive you can take out of this game, it's that Kirkman and Mark Lowe did a nice job saving the bullpen. With Grimm's short outing, the Rangers bullpen could have been in for a long night, but Kirkman did exactly what he needed to do -- eat up outs and save the pen. Kirkman pitched five innings, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts. Lowe came in after that to shut the Tigers offense down for the final three frames, allowing two walks and no hits. The three innings matched a career-high for Lowe. He threw three innings Sept. 26, 2008 against Oakland when he was with Seattle.
Hamilton homers: It hasn't been a month Hamilton would like to remember, but he did deliver his 23rd home run of the season, a two-run shot, over the right field wall in the seventh. It was just the second home run of the month for Hamilton and his first home run in 10 games.
Speedy Martin: Manager Ron Washington has said the biggest room for improvement for Leonys Martin is defensively, and he has certainly had his struggles in the field. But his speed made an appearance in the third inning when he got a good read on a ball and made a sliding catch to end the frame.
Up Next: The Rangers will try to bounce back to tie the series in game two of this three-game series against the Tigers on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/MLB Network.