DETROIT (AP) — Matt Manning pitched six strong innings and the Detroit Tigers won their sixth straight game, beating the skidding Texas Rangers 4-2 Wednesday night.
Robbie Grossman, Zack Short and Akil Baddoo hit home runs as the Tigers matched their longest winning streak since an eight-game run in 2016. Detroit has allowed a total of seven runs during this success string.
“This is just a lot of fun right now,” Short said. “We’re going out there every day expecting to win, and we’re picking each other up. I’ve struggled a little lately, and we’ve kept winning. Today, it was my turn to help.”
The Rangers have lost eight in a row. They’ve been outscored 47-5 in six games since the All-Star break and have played 69 straight innings without holding a lead.
“I feel better than I did, because we’ve at least given ourselves a chance in the last two games,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We weren’t doing that for a while.”
Called up from Triple-A Toledo to make his sixth career start, Manning (2-3) gave up one earned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out four.
“I’ve put a lot of work in between starts to get more life on my fastball,” he said. “That’s starting to show up in games, and that gives me a mix I can use to attack guys. My change and my slider look like my fastball when I’m pitching well.”
Gregory Soto pitched the ninth for his 10th save, but only after a bloop single, a hit batter and a balk put the tying runs in scoring position.
“Gregory certainly gets some style points for that inning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “This was a tough win, but we hit the home runs when we needed them, and the pitchers got us through.”
Jordan Lyles (5-7) gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings. He has allowed seven homers in 11 innings in two starts since the All-Star break.
“I’m not sure what is happening,” Lyles said. “Obviously, I need to give up fewer home runs, but no one in baseball has figured out how to stop them. We just need to look at these two outings and figure out what is happening.”
Grossman homered in the first inning for the second straight day. John Hicks, who previously played for the Tigers, tied it with an RBI double in the second. Manning, though, retired the next three hitters to keep the Rangers from adding on.
“That’s a key moment in the game,” Woodward said. “We had an opportunity to take the lead, and we couldn’t get a runner home from second with no one out. (Manning) gave us some chances, but we didn’t take advantage.”
Short hit a two-run homer in the second. David Dahl’s RBI double pulled Texas within 3-2 in the fourth.
The Rangers, who haven’t led since July 10, fell further behind in the fifth when Baddoo connected.
“Lyles did a nice job against us, but we hit the mistakes he made,” Hinch said.
The Rangers have signed their third-round draft pick, high school shortstop Cameron Cauley, and their fourth-round choice, high school catcher Ian Moller. Both players will report to Texas’ spring training site in Surprise, Arizona.