The game was a stroll on the beach.
It was an afternoon in the park. A float down the river. A Sunday afternoon drive.
And then the sky fell.
The Tigers had only four hits going into the ninth, but for some reason, manager Kevin Cash entrusted the lead to young Ryan Garton. The Tigers beat up on Garton, and eventually Erasmo Ramirez, and a nightmare ensued.
The first 10 Detroit batters who came to the plate had seven hits, two walks, and a sacrifice fly. The biggest hit was a bases-loaded double by Cameron Maybin.
The Tigers finished the inning with eight runs on seven hits. It was the biggest blown lead for the Rays since August of 2013 against the Dodgers.
The Rays had built a big lead on a four-run third, three of them on a bases-loaded double by Nick Frankin. The Rays padded their lead to 7-2 with two runs in the eighth.
But in the ninth, Garton gave up four straight singles. Ramirez came in and gave up two singles, two walks and a sacrifice fly. Maybin’s three-run double gave his team the lead.
“That’s a frustrating loss,” manager Kevin Cash said. “I don’t know if there’s been one more frustrating this year, but that was definitely a difficult one. … They just pieced together a bunch of hits. They did it off of Ryan [Garton] and then also Erasmo. We always talk about how hitting gets contagious. That was one contagious inning for them.”
Jake Odorizzi allowed only two earned runs in five innings. Matt Andriese then came in and pitched three innings on only 27 pitches. But Cash pulled Andriese for Garton, who couldn’t hold the lead.
“Given his recent workload,” Cash said. ” and also when you separate the games to five runs there, a five-run lead, we’re capable of having pitchers that need to go out there and get the job done for us.”
Both Garton and Ramirez gave up four runs. Ramirez has lost three of his last four appearances. Since May 6, his ERA is 7.16 over 21 appearances.
“I was just hoping the snowball would keep rolling down the hill,” Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus said. “I don’t know if I have ever seen that before, where there was an offensive explosion like that in the ninth inning to come back and win a ballgame.”
Tonight, Drew Smyly of the Rays pitches against Detroit’s Michael Fulmer.