Detroit Tigers busy on the bases, but not at home plate in 6-3 loss to L.A. Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES — The Detroit Tigers stranded seven runners on the bases.

All seven runners were stranded in the opening four innings against Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler: two in the first inning, three in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth.

By the middle innings, the Dodgers enjoyed a commanding lead.

The Tigers entered Sunday in position to win the three-game series, thanks to Saturday's victory that snapped a six-game losing streak. But the Dodgers put the Tigers to rest 6-3 in the finale at Dodger Stadium.

The Tigers (7-14) have lost seven of their past eight games.

Eduardo Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Eduardo Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

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Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, making his fifth start for the Tigers, allowed six runs (four earned runs) on eight hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out five batters, throwing 65 of 90 pitches for strikes.

The Dodgers scored one run in the first inning, three in the second and two in the sixth.

The three runs in the second could have been avoided. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario botched what should have a routine inning-ending double play on a grounder from Mookie Betts. He bobbled the ball in his glove and threw wild to first baseman Harold Castro.

His throwing error allowed the Dodgers to score their second run and opened the door for them to score their third and fourth runs. In the sixth, the Dodgers scored their sixth run because of Javier Báez's fielding error.

The ball skipped past him and rolled into center.

Detroit's defense has made eight errors over its past six games.

Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) is relieved by manager A.J. Hinch (left) during the sixth inning May 1, 2022 at Dodger Stadium.
Tigers starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) is relieved by manager A.J. Hinch (left) during the sixth inning May 1, 2022 at Dodger Stadium.

The Tigers scored their first runs in the eighth inning, as Miguel Cabrera launched a two-run home run over the left-center wall. His swing produced a 103.8 mph exit velocity, and the ball traveled 426 feet. He drilled a fourth-pitch slider from right-handed reliever Phil Bickford.

It was Cabrera's first homer in 2022 and his 503rd in his 20-year career.

The 39-year-old also boasts 1,119 extra-base hits, tying him with George Brett for 18th in MLB history.

Candelario added a solo homer to lead off the ninth off reliever Justin Bruihl. Pinch-hitter Willi Castro then doubled to force the Dodgers to bring in Craig Kimbrel, who got the final two outs of the inning.

Busy on the bases

The Tigers had plenty of scoring opportunities, beginning in the first inning when Robbie Grossman worked a leadoff walk on six pitches.

He stole second base, then Austin Meadows singled to put two runners on with one out. Miguel Cabrera struck out swinging at a 93.7 mph cutter, and Harold Castro flied out to shortstop.

Detroit Tigers right fielder Austin Meadows hits a single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Detroit Tigers right fielder Austin Meadows hits a single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Jonathan Schoop and Tucker Barnhart tallied singles early in the second inning, and Grossman was drilled in the right hand by Buehler's 92.8 mph cutter with two outs. The hit-by-pitch juiced the bases for Javier Báez.

Seven of Báez's 13 hits this season are with two outs.

This time, though, the 29-year-old couldn't get the job done.

Báez struck out swinging on a fourth-pitch slider from Buehler that traveled way outside the strike zone. Buehler set him up with a third-pitch cutter at the top corner on the outside edge of the zone.

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

The Tigers wasted a two-out single from Harold Castro in the third inning and a pair of one-out singles from Barnhart and Akil Baddoo in the fourth. After Barnhart and Baddoo reached safely on weak hits, Eric Haase grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Haase entered in the second inning as a defensive replacement for Grossman, who exited the contest with a right hand contusion.

Rodriguez's day

The Dodgers scored their first run in the first frame, as the first two batters of the game — Betts and Freddie Freeman — notched singles. Will Smith delivered an RBI single for Los Angeles' 1-0 lead.

Three runs were added to the scoreboard in the second.

The throwing error from Candelario put the Dodgers up 2-0, and Freeman followed Betts with an RBI double on a 3-2 slider from Rodriguez. An ensuing groundout from Trea Turner made it 3-0.

Mookie Betts (50) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his single in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.
Mookie Betts (50) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to his single in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 1, 2022.

Rodriguez retired 12 batters in a row before the Dodgers struck again.

With one out in the sixth inning, Chris Taylor singled to left field and scored on Cody Bellinger's RBI double to right field for a 5-0 margin. The double from Bellinger snapped an 0-for-20 streak.

Rodriguez, signed to a five-year, $77 million contract this past offseason, recorded the second out and should have picked up the third out to end the inning without further damage.

But that's when Báez made his fielding error.

The Dodgers went ahead 6-0.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch removed Rodriguez from the game. The 29-year-old was replaced by right-handed reliever Drew Hutchison, who retired Betts on three pitches for the third out.

For his 90 pitches, Rodriguez used 27 four-seam fastballs (30%), 24 changeups (27%), 16 cutters (18%), 15 sinkers (17%) and eight sliders (9%). He recorded four swings and misses: one fastball, two changeups and one cutter.

Rodriguez logged 14 called strikes.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers busy on bases, but not at home in 6-3 loss to Dodgers