DETROIT (AP)—Joe Kennedy took advantage of the worst offense in the majors.
“It’s still a major league baseball team,” Kennedy said. “It doesn’t matter who you are facing, you’ve just got to go out and pitch your ballgame no matter if it is Detroit, the Expos, the Giants or the Yankees.”
The hapless Tigers dropped to 3-24 with their fifth straight loss. They have been shut out a major league-leading seven times—Philadelphia is next with four—and have scored only 61 runs in 27 games.
Six teams—the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rockies, Cardinals and Cubs— have more runs this season than Detroit has hits (159).
“It is just a broken record—we didn’t score again,” manager Alan Trammell said. “Baseball is a contagious game, and right now we are in a rut that we can’t get out of.”
Kennedy (2-2) allowed only a first-inning single to Andres Torres, walked one and struck out six. He threw 107 pitches.
“It was a great feeling to be out there in the ninth inning and shut it down,” he said. “We went 13 innings yesterday (in a loss to Minnesota), so I knew the bullpen was a little short. In that last inning, the adrenalin starts pumping and I picked it up a level.”
Tampa Bay made two errors, but the left-hander faced just 29 batters—two more than the minimum—in his second career shutout. He threw a four-hitter last May 21 against Seattle.
“That was by far our best pitching performance of the year,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “I saw him do that against me in Seattle last year.”
Travis Harper pitched Tampa Bay’s only complete-game two-hitter in Toronto on Sept. 24, 2000. The team began play in 1998.
Anderson lined an RBI single down the right-field line, but Bobby Higginson threw him out trying for second. Rocco Baldelli followed with a triple, but Tigers reliever Jamie Walker struck out Aubrey Huff to end the inning.
“When you walk the leadoff guy, you are always going to be battling for the rest of the inning,” Knotts said. “Both of us were putting up zeros all game, but I was the first one to let them get one.”
Knotts (0-3) took the loss despite allowing only one run on five hits and two walks in 7 2-3 innings.
Kennedy and Knotts were locked in a scoreless duel through seven innings. Baldelli reached third in the first on two singles and a groundout, but he was the only runner to advance into scoring position for either team until the seventh.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” Knotts said. “You get caught up in the competition with the other guy and you start feeding off each other.”
“That was a good idea,” Trammell said. “Lombard made a great play, but the way things are going for us, you have to take chances like that and try to make things happen.”
Al Martin’s seventh-inning single was the first hit for either team since the first, but he was stranded at second base.
In the past two days, the Tigers have lost three games despite their starting pitchers allowing just six runs in 22 1-3 innings.
“I cannot even begin to explain how hard this is,” Brandon Inge said. “I’m sure people watching us think they understand how frustrated we are, but it is at least twice as bad as they might think. You just want to hitsomething.”
Piniella will miss Saturday’s game against Detroit due to a one-game suspension. Bench coach John McLaren will replace Piniella, who will return Sunday. … Second base umpire Marty Foster appeared to miss a call in the first inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Lee hit a grounder to second base. SS Omar Infante dropped Shane Halter’s throw, but Foster ruled he held the ball long enough to record the force out. Replays indicated thatInfante never had the ball in his control. … The game drew 14,571 fans.