Tigers' hot bats torch Texas Rangers rookie

Posted Monday, Jun. 25, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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ARLINGTON -- The thermometer at first pitch Monday night read 100 degrees, and it took only a few minutes for the feel-good vibes from June 16 to completely melt away.

But it wasn't just the first triple-digit reading of the season at Rangers Ballpark. The bats Detroit were swinging in the first inning against rookie right-hander Justin Grimm were just as hot.

The Tigers scored five runs in the first, and Grimm allowed six runs in just over an inning as the Rangers opened a three-game series with an 8-2 loss to the Tigers.

A mistake on a bunt play in the first contributed to the shortest outing by a Rangers starter in almost a year. Grimm, though, couldn't limit the damage as he dropped his second career start.

"It was obvious: He got hit around," manager Ron Washington said. "That's a pretty good hitting team. When he threw the ball out over the plate, they didn't miss it. Rough night for him."

The struggling Josh Hamilton made sure the Rangers wouldn't be shut out when he swatted his 23rd homer of the season in the seventh inning. But the blast was only his second homer of the month.

The Rangers' lead in the American League West slipped a half-game to 4 1/2 over Anaheim, which had an off day. After rolling through the National League the past 15 games at 12-3, the Rangers lost for the eighth time in their past 10 games against an AL team, dating to May 29.

The Tigers, for sure, are no Houston, the team Grimm beat June 16 by allowing three runs over six innings in his major-league debut.

Grimm started the game with two strikes to jump ahead of Austin Jackson, but the Denton native smacked a double to center field to start a parade of seven Tigers hits in the inning.

The biggest might have been the next, as Quintin Berry dropped a bunt that Grimm fielded cleanly near the third-base line. No one was covering first base, though, as Berry reached and Jackson went to third.

Washington said that first baseman Michael Young is supposed to charge the bunt but retreat to cover first base if the bunt goes toward third.

"In that situation you read and react," Washington said. "Just misjudged."

Miguel Cabrera followed with a two-run double, Delmon Young had an RBI single two batters later, and Jhonny Peralta brought in two more with a double to left.

Ramon Santiago capped the rally with a single to score Peralta.

Grimm (1-1) returned for the second inning, but was gone after walking Berry and issuing a single to Cabrera. Berry would score as Prince Fielder lifted a sacrifice fly off Michael Kirkman.

The Grimm start was the shortest since Derek Holland last only two-thirds of an inning July 2, 2011, against Florida.

Washington said that the plan at game's end was for Grimm to make his next scheduled start Saturday against Oakland.

"I didn't have damage control tonight," Grimm said. "Five runs in the first doesn't give your team a good chance to win. I'll put this one on my shoulder and bounce back Saturday."

The Rangers, meanwhile, had no answer for a pitcher who had no answer for them April 21 or for most of his career. Rick Porcello took a shutout into the seventh before being removed after walking Leonys Martin to start the inning.

Martin scored on Hamilton's shot into the right-field seats off Brayan Villareal.

Porcello (5-5) had been roughed up two months ago in Detroit , where he lasted only a few batters into the second inning and issued nine runs on 10 hits. He entered the start 1-2 with a 12.27 ERA against the Rangers.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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