The Detroit Tigers J.D. Martinez in met by teammates after his two run homer against the Boston Red Sox Joe Kelly during fourth inning action on Friday, August 7, 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Daniel Norris was pumped up.
He had to be, making the first start of his Tigers career at Comerica Park.
“Maybe a little bit,” he admitted. “I just want to go out there and do well.”
And although the young left-hander showed no signs of chaos on the mound, his second start in a Tigers uniform didn’t go as well as his first, as the Red Sox pumped hit after hit after hit off him in a 7-2 win on Friday night at Comerica Park.
“It was a combination of a lot of stuff,” Norris said. “Not executing pitches when I needed to.”
Norris allowed five runs – all earned – on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings. He walked none and struck out three, throwing 83 pitches, one shy of the total in his first start with the team on Aug. 2 against the Orioles, which spanned 7 1/3 innings.
In the first inning, Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run double. In the third inning, David Ortiz hit a two-run home run.
And from the outset, Norris was unable to get in a groove. He allowed three hits in the first inning on 39 pitches but came a mere inch or two away from escaping the inning – a 93 m.p.h. fastball in a 1-2 count to Ramirez was deemed just inside, according to home plate umpire James Hoye – but didn’t come close to matching his maiden voyage on the mound.
About that 1-2 pitch, Norris said, “I thought I had it.”
Said catcher James McCann: “Borderline. Obviously if we get it, it’s a completely different ballgame.”
But the batterymate didn’t, Ramirez doubled, and the Red Sox never lost the lead.
Norris was chased after allowing back-to-back one-out singles in the fourth inning.
J.D. Martinez pulled the Tigers within striking distance with his 30th home run of the year, a two-run shot to left-centerfield in the fourth inning, but right-hander Buck Farmer, who relieved Norris, allowed a two-run double to Xander Bogaerts in the sixth inning and the Tigers didn’t threaten the lengthy lead the rest of the way.
In the middle of the sixth inning, there was a confrontation between McCann and Jose Iglesias in the Tigers dugout, caught by television cameras when Iglesias shoved McCann. It’s unclear what the scuffle stemmed from, but seemed like Iglesias’ effort on a Rusney Castillo groundball single up the middle in the top of the sixth inning drew McCann’s ire.
“It’s just players disagreeing about something,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s all it was, nothing more.”
After the disagreement, McCann and Iglesias were separated by third baseman Nick Castellanos and second baseman Ian Kinsler.
“It’s an in-house subject and we got it taken care of,” McCann said. “Jose and I are both rooting for each other and we’re both rooting for each other as the game went on.”
In the loss, which further buries the Tigers in both the American League Central and AL wild-card races – they trail the Royals by 11 ½ games in the division and stand five games back of the league’s second wild-card spot – Kinsler recorded his 42nd multi-hit game of the season, which is tied for first in the AL.
Martinez recorded three hits, upping his average to .291 on the season, and McCann hit a single and double.
And despite a short stay on the mound in his first of many starts for the Tigers, Norris, the prized piece in the team’s trade deadline returns, received a hearty hand from the audience in attendance.
“It’s great,” Norris said. “A huge crowd and they’re into it and everything and obviously I wish I would have given them more to cheer for but obviously, it’s appreciated.”