The Tiger bats were less than silent in David Price's return to Tropicana field on August 21st.
Price allowed an unearned run on an RBI triple by Brandon Guyer in the first inning. That was it. Nada. Nothing else. Not a hit. Not a walk. Not a baserunner. Price mowed down the last 23 hitters he faced with 9 strikeouts.
Yet the Tigers mustered just two hits off of Rays starter Alex Cobb and didn't cash in.
Torii Hunter lead off the 7th with a double, and a Miguel Cabrera groundout pushed Hunter to third with one out. Victor Martinez was walked intentionally to set up the double play. Cobb threw a wild pitch, and Martinez advanced to second to quell the double-play threat, but J.D. Martinez struck out for the third time, and Castellanos followed with a deep fly-out.
With two runners in scoring position and one out in the seventh inning, the 5 and 6 hitter missed the mark. J.D. Martinez was pitched identically in all four at-bats and didn't make an adjustment. In Castellanos' defense, had he been up 5th, his fly ball would have scored the tying-run.
He hit it plenty deep enough for a sac fly, but J.D. Martinez simply could not put a pitch he saw every at-bat of the day multiple times in play.
Cabrera's ninth inning hit was wasted when Victor Martinez popped up the first pitch he saw from Rays committee closer of the day Jake McGee, and J.D. Martinez blooped to Logan Forsythe to end the threat.
With a chance to take a late lead, Hunter, Cabrera and Victor Martinez came up against a left-hander who threw literally nothing but mid-nineties fastballs and sputtered, contributing a strikeout, a single and a lazy pop fly.
The first place Kansas City Royals were off, giving the Tigers a chance to pull within a game of KC, but were unable to cash-in Price's majestic effort.
The Tigers fall to 1.5 back of KC headed into a pivotal four-game weekend road series with the last place Minnesota Twins. Robbie Ray will duel with Tommy Milone in the series opener.
Fox Sports Detroit announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen reported that Buck Farmer will likely make his second major league start in the first game of the double-header against Yohan Pino, while Justin Verlander will return to face Trevor May who struggled in his last start against Kansas City.
The Royals meanwhile head to Texas to take on the tanking Rangers on August 22nd.