Detroit Tigers waste every opportunity to score in 1-0 loss to Texas Rangers

The Detroit Tigers wasted every opportunity.

Old friend Michael Lorenzen, a veteran right-hander who pitched for the Tigers last season, started for the Texas Rangers in Monday's opener of a four-game series at Comerica Park. He wasn't sharp in his first start of the season, but that didn't matter because the Tigers failed to get the big hit in a 1-0 loss to the Rangers.

The Tigers (9-7) grounded into three double plays through five innings, including a pair of inning-ending double plays from Mark Canha. Lorenzen threw five scoreless innings despite walking five batters and giving up three hits.

"I don't think it was a pitch selection issue," Canha said. "It wasn't like we swung at bad pitches. We just didn't hit the ball in the air, and that's the name of the game these days."

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, Monday, April 15, 2024.
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park, Monday, April 15, 2024.

The lack of offense was especially frustrating because right-hander Reese Olson pitched into the seventh inning for just the third time in his 21-start career. He allowed one run on six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts over 6⅓ innings, but the Tigers couldn't back him up by scoring runs.

The double plays against Lorenzen happened in the third inning, fourth inning and fifth inning.

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In the third, Canha grounded into an inning-ending double play after Riley Greene's walk. In the fourth, Matt Vierling grounded into a double play after walks from Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter. In the fifth, Canha grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, after singles from Gio Urshela and Javier Báez and another walk from Greene.

"It's early in the season," said Canha, who leads the Tigers with an .817 OPS in 16 games. "I have full confidence that the next time that situation comes up, I'm going to hit the ball in the air. I'm going to devote the next week to figuring out how to do that better."

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The Tigers ran into troubles on offense later in the game, as well.

In the eighth inning, Canha doubled and Torkelson reached safely on catcher interference with one out against right-handed reliever David Robertson. The momentum was killed — and the two runners were stranded — when Carpenter lined out and Wenceel Pérez struck out looking.

Pérez battled for nine pitches, but Robertson froze him with a curveball located in the strike zone.

Right-handed reliever Kirby Yates sent down the Tigers in order in the bottom of the ninth inning: Colt Keith (groundout), Urshela (groundout) and Báez (flyout).

The Tigers finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"I do like our approach," manager A.J. Hinch said, "and I'm happy that we took it from the game plan to the field. The big hit would've made everybody feel better. We're going to keep working."

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Reese Olson shines

Olson threw 95 pitches and kept the Tigers within striking distance.

"He was as good as he's been," Hinch said.

He recorded strikeouts for six of his first seven outs: Marcus Semien (swinging strike, changeup), Evan Carter (swinging strike, slider), Adolis García (swinging strike, changeup), Ezequiel Duran (swinging strike, slider), Jared Walsh (swinging strike, slider) and Leody Taveras (swinging strike, curveball).

"Everything was pretty good," Olson said. "I threw everything around the zone. I think that's where my stuff can be when I'm more competitive in and around the zone."

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Reese Olson looks over to first base during the game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park, Monday, April 15, 2024.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Reese Olson looks over to first base during the game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park, Monday, April 15, 2024.

Olson also struck out Josh Smith (swinging strike, slider) in the fourth inning and García (swinging strike, changeup) in the sixth inning. He didn't get any strikeouts in the fifth inning, which is when the Rangers scored.

The first three batters reached to load the bases: Jonah Heim hit a curveball at the bottom of the strike zone for a double to right field. Olson then sprayed two fastballs as part of a six-pitch walk to Walsh. And Taveras hit a single that deflected off the glove of diving a Torkelson at first base.

Semien grounded into a force out, but it was enough to put the Rangers ahead, 1-0.

Olson left one on with one out in the seventh inning for left-handed reliever Tyler Holton, who retired back-to-back batters to end the inning. Olson previously pitched into the seventh inning Sept. 2 and Sept. 8 during his rookie year last season, both against the Chicago White Sox.

"I think (getting ahead in counts) combined with staying ahead when I got ahead made the difference," Olson said. "Last start, when I would get ahead, I would lose the 1-1 count and fall behind from there, so we made that a point this go around to make sure I'm in the zone in 1-1 counts."

Against the Rangers, Olson generated 16 whiffs (on 46 swings) with 10 changeups, five sliders and one curveball. His four-seam fastball produced eight of his 15 called strikes, plus an additional two called strikes from his sinker.

His changeup-slider combination was dynamite.

"I thought he threw really well-timed fastballs," Hinch said. "He didn't get sped up when they got a couple base hits or found some holes. He controlled damage against a lineup that can do some damage."

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Riley Greene's strong throw

There could have been another run in the fifth inning.

The Rangers tested the arm of Greene in left field, and he made them pay by throwing out Walsh trying to score from third base on a flyout. He was not close to beating Greene's strong throw of 90 mph.

"Saved me a run," Olson said. "Maybe a few runs."

The double play ended the inning and marked the first time Greene threw out a runner at home. He entered Monday's game with 1,687⅔ innings as an outfielder — mostly as a center fielder — in his three-year MLB career.

"We'll see it a little bit more from the corner," Hinch said. "I think part of Riley in center was get rid of the ball quick and get it to the infield. You don't see near as many guys thrown out at extra bases from center field as you do from the corners. He's got a good arm."

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him @EvanPetzold.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers waste every opportunity in 1-0 loss to Texas Rangers