The Tigers fell 10-0 to the Angels on Monday in the 19th closing of the season, the most for the Tigers since 1976.
Unlike the Tigers (51-84), the Angels (59-76) threw their 17th close of the season, tying with the Mets for the most in Major League Baseball this season.
Angels champion Jose Suarez (seven innings, three hits, no runs, seven hits) stayed one step ahead of the Tigers’ hitters with a healthy mix of well-positioned fast balls and dribbling changes.
Suarez’s longest run since August 8 led to another mediocre night on the Detroit board, with four strokes compared to the Angels 16.
Until Willi Castro was alone in sixth, the Tigers’ only hit in the match was Victor Reyes’ lone jumper above the left field line in the third, just inches from being overtaken by Luis Renjevo to get off the ground.
“The same stadiums we were giving up, we weren’t playing,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch told Bally Sports in Detroit. “(Suarez) hit us in the attack zone. We had a good plan against him – we didn’t really implement it.”
Tyler Alexander (4 innings 1/3, 10 hits, six hit runs) has given up a lot of strong contact with the Angels but never been more influential than their best players.
Mike Trout (3-4, RBI, 3 runs) fell three times in the course, and Shohei Ohtani (3-5, 3 RBIs) made his sixth multiplayer game of the season, with a 2-game blast in the third. And a single bullet in the seventh.
“They’re great players,” Hinch told Bally Sports Detroit. “As I said before the game, you can’t make mistakes with them and you can’t keep them frustrated for long if you don’t do good pitches.”
The Angels wasted no time in a 2-0 lead over Alexander in the first after Trout, Otani and Renvigo (4-5, RBI, 2 runs) hit three straight hits, with Taylor Ward driving Ohtani off the ground. Alexander recovered to score the second half 1-2-3 before things took another turn for the worse in the third.
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After David Fletcher walked off the field, Trott tore down one double to the left and Otani followed that up with a towering home run twice, his 31st of the year.
Riley Greene later grabbed a thrilling center field jump on Rengifo’s long-flying ball—only to bring it down after hitting the ground, resulting in a triple for the Angels’ third baseman.
Ward’s fly brought sacrifice Renjivo and made it 5-0 in favor of the home team bent on furthering their lead. Trout and Otani crushed 416 feet solo in the second half of the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively, before Cody Clemens gave up the RBI song to Ryan Aguilar to make the score 10-0 through eight.
As the defeat continued, the Tigers weren’t without some shining moments. Hinch told Bally Sports Detroit that he thought Luis Castillo’s outing (1 2/3 rounds, no-strokes, no-strokes, three-strokes) was good, and Josh Lester had his MLB debut with the Tigers at the top of eighth and left. Felder Clemens took the first hit of his career against Ohtani in the next frame.
“I don’t know if (Ohtani) has faced a center player before, but that will be included in Cody’s memory book. I don’t know how (Roger Clemens, Cody’s father) would have done against him, but he can always say that he Hit it out.
Harold Castro mustered the Tigers’ fourth hit in Game Nine, solo to the left of center, before Zack Weiss Clemence’s shot fired to close out the Angels 10-0, encouraging one side and utterly frustrating the other.
“I’m tired of tipping my hat,” Hinch told Bally Sports Detroit. “It’s a tough loss, 10 to nothing, we made a lot of mistakes. He didn’t win.”
Sean Ryder is a freelance writer.