DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers have to figure out a way to beat left-handed starters.
Former Tiger Jefry Marte had three RBI and Tyler Skaggs shut down the Detroit offense in the Los Angeles Angels’ 5-0 victory on Sunday.
After scoring 35 runs in the four games before this series, the Tigers were limited to six runs in the three-game weekend set against the Angels. It is the ninth time this season the Tigers have been shut out.
The Tigers also fell to 19-20 against lefty starters.
“Give Skaggs some credit, he did a good job, but we’ve struggled against left-handed starters this year for some reason,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “In May, I would have called it an anomaly, but it is almost September. I really can’t explain why this continues to happen.”
The victory gave the Angels back-to-back road series wins for the first time this season.
Marte hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning off Anibal Sanchez (7-13) for the first runs of the game. It was Marte’s 10th home run of the season and first since Aug. 17.
“I was looking for a good pitch and try to drive the run in and was looking for a fastball,” Marte said. “I try to do my best every game but when you play against a team that you were (with) before, that’s something exciting.”
Marte played in 33 games with the Tigers last season and was traded to the Angels in January.
The Angels added three more runs in the sixth, on sacrifice flies by Andrelton Simmons and Marte, plus an RBI double by Nick Buss.
Skaggs (2-3), pitching for the first time at Comerica Park, allowed just two hits while striking out six in six innings.
“That’s a tough lineup any day of the week and he did a better job as the game went on of controlling counts and got some big outs,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He made some pitches when he had to.”
Sanchez gave up five runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“He wasn’t as sharp as he’s been in the last few outings,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
The only Tiger with a hit off Skaggs was Miguel Cabrera, who had a single in the first and a double in the fourth.
“Their kid pitched well and they flat-out beat us,” said Victor Martinez, who was 0-for-4. “That’s the bottom line. We didn’t do anything at all to score runs.”
Martinez declined to discuss his third-inning ejection in Saturday’s game. Catcher James McCann, who was not ejected but did not agree with a called third strike in the second inning, said, “At the end of the day, we have to find a way to take it out of the umpire’s hand. Unfortunately last night, I don’t know that we were able to do that.”
Marte became the fourth Angels rookie in the last six seasons with 10 or more home runs, joining C.J. Cron, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.
Angels: Although 3B Yunel Escobar (concussion) is ready to start baseball activities Monday, Scioscia won’t commit to him playing next weekend against Seattle. “If he feels good to play before then, we’ll get him in before then, but we’ve got to wait and see when he can get back to baseball activities and how he works out on the field the next day,” Scioscia said.
Tigers: RHP Mike Pelfrey (low back strain) will make his first rehabilitation start Monday with Triple-A Toledo. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he would throw 40-45 pitches. Jordan Zimmermann (neck) will make his second rehabilitation start Wednesday and is set to throw about 60 pitches.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker will be making his first career appearance against the Cincinnati Reds. In eight career interleague games, seven of which were starts, Shoemaker is 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA.
Tigers: LHP Matt Boyd will be making his third career start against the Chicago White Sox. In his last eight starts, Boyd is 5-0 with a 2.38 ERA.