For the second time in three starts, Detroit Tigers right-hander Matt Manning completed seven innings. The only problem is he didn't get any run support from his offense against Los Angeles Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval.
Sandoval had complete control.
The 25-year-old, an 11th-round draft pick in 2015, tossed a shutout for the first time in his four-year MLB career, which features 49 starts in 56 games. He is the eighth MLB pitcher with a shutout this season, along with teammate Reid Detmers (whose blanking was a no-hitter).
The Tigers lost, 1-0, in the first of three games in the series at Comerica Park and were limited to four hits. Detroit's offense struck out nine times — including five times in the seventh and eighth innings combined — and failed to draw a walk.
It took Sandoval just 97 pitches (73 strikes).
The Tigers (45-76), losers in 21 of 29 games since July 21, recorded their four hits (all singles) in the first, third, fifth and ninth innings. Over that same 29-game span, Tigers starters lead the American League — and rank third in MLB — with a 3.09 ERA.
In the ninth, Victor Reyes singled on a changeup with one out, but Riley Greene grounded into a game-ending double play.
Willi Castro singled with one out in the first inning, and the next two batters were retired. A one-out single from Jeimer Candelario in the third was erased by Reyes grounding into a double play. Miguel Cabrera shot his single to right field in the fifth, and after Kerry Carpenter grounded into a force out, Jonathan Schoop grounded into a double play.
Sandoval mixed his pitches — slider (29%), four-seam fastballs (23%), changeup (22%), sinker (16%) and curveball (10%) — to induce weak contact with his slider while also using the breaking ball for swings and misses.
He generated 18 whiffs with eight sliders, five four-seamers, three changeups, one sinker and one curveball. He also had 11 called strikes. The Tigers, from start to finish, appeared to be guessing at what pitch Sandoval would throw, and guessing wrong.
Javier Báez finished 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Cabrera also struck out twice.
Manning battled brief moments of inconsistency through his first three innings, then settled in for an elite performance over his final four innings. The 24-year-old allowed one run on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts over seven innings.
Manning threw 63 of 90 pitches for strikes.
The Angels scored their only run in the second.
Jared Walsh hammered Manning's hanging changeup with a 110 mph exit velocity for a solo home run to right field with two outs. Manning then struck out the next batter, Jo Adell, on three straight pitches.
Manning walked Ohtani and Mike Trout, playing in his first game since July 12, with two outs in the third inning but escaped damage by inducing a groundout. He retired all three batters in the fourth, three of four batters in the fifth, all three batters in the sixth and all three batters in the seventh.
In the fifth, Manning allowed a two-out, two-strike single to Kurt Suzuki and showed frustration after the play. The No. 9 hitter reached safely, which brought Ohtani, the 2021 American League MVP, to the plate. Manning got the two-way superstar — he's slated to start on the mound Sunday — to swing through a pair of sliders at the top of the strike zone and punched him out on four pitches.
Manning retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
For his 90 pitches, Manning threw 42 four-seam fastballs (47%), 26 sliders (29%), 12 sinkers (13%), eight curveballs (9%) and two changeups (2%). He recorded 12 swings and misses: four four-seamers, seven sliders and one sinker.
Manning's slider, a pitch he revamped while on the injured list, produced seven whiffs and five of his 17 called strikes.
Two relievers — right-handers Joe Jiménez and Jason Foley — pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings. Jiménez struck out two batters and blew a 98.2 mph four-seam fastball past a swinging Ohtani for a three-pitch strikeout.
Foley had one strikeout.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers blanked in 1-0 loss to Los Angeles Angels