Detroit Tigers fall behind early in 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, signed to a five-year, $ 77 million contract in November, departed with one out in the first inning, sidelined by a left-side injury.

The Tigers couldn’t catch a break in Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, despite a valiant effort from six pitchers out of the bullpen. After dropping the finale at Tropicana Field, the Tigers (13-25) have lost 10 of 12 series this season.

Detroit scored five runs in the three-game series, with three coming in the opener.

“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We got to play better. We got to hit better. We got to play with a little bit more up-tempo. We got to get in the strike zone. I could go on for a while on what we got to do to do better. “

Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) talks with manager AJ Hinch (center right) and a trainer as he is taken out of the game during the first inning against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

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Tampa Bay attacked Rodriguez from the beginning, opening its half of the first with three singles in a row. The first run scored on a bases-loaded, four-pitch walk to Randy Arozarena.

The Rays tacked on two more runs for a 3-0 lead before Rodriguez’s departure with one out. He left the bases loaded for right-handed reliever Rony Garcia, who struck out Taylor Walls and Brett Phillips to escape the jam.

Walls struck out swinging at a 79.9 mph curveball, while Phillips went down looking at an 81.1 mph curveball.

Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez reacts as he struggles against the Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Rodriguez threw 23 pitches (11 strikes). His four-seam fastball averaged 89.5 mph, despite having a season average of 91.9 mph. He tossed eight changeups, eight cutters, six four-seamers and one sinker.

The Tigers’ offense totaled five hits, one walk and 11 strikeouts.

“It’s tough,” Hinch said. “Starter comes out injured against an offense that was going to be aggressive. Our bullpen did a pretty good job of hanging in there, a couple balls that got away from us. Losing the series hurts, but losing it with your guys going down is bad. “

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