ARLINGTON -- Rangers rookie pitcher Justin Grimm's first foray against an American League lineup turned out to be a much different experience than his Major League debut against a team from the other league.Much different. The Detroit Tigers saw to that on a Monday night when Grimm threw his first pitch while the temperature was hovering at 100 degrees. Grimm gave up five runs in the first and was out of the game before retiring a batter in the second. Before the temperature could dip back below triple digits, the Rangers trailed by six runs and went on to an 8-2 loss to the Tigers at the Ballpark in Arlington. "It was obvious he got hit around," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's a pretty good hitting club over there. When he threw the ball over the plate, they didn't miss it. It was a rough night for him."
Grimm, who beat the Astros in his first start on June 16, allowed six runs on eight hits and a walk. He threw 52 pitches, including 40 in the first inning when the Tigers sent 10 batters to the plate. Grimm was trying to become the first Rangers pitcher since Kevin Brown to win his first two Major League starts but is instead 1-1 with an 11.57 ERA."I just didn't execute my pitches," Grimm said. "My breaking ball wasn't very good. My changeup was probably my best pitch. It's a humbling game. ... I've got to get the ball down and throw my breaking ball the way I know how to throw it. I didn't have damage control out there.
"I'll put this one on my shoulders and come back Saturday."
His next start is scheduled for Saturday night against the Athletics. The Rangers are planning on giving him a third start, but they could go back to Scott Feldman, who was taken out of the rotation so that Grimm could face the Tigers. The Rangers could even go with Michael Kirkman, who threw five innings and 82 pitches in relief of Grimm."We just walked off the field so I can't give you a definite answer," Washington said. "But right now [Grimm] is preparing for his next start. If that changes I'll let you know."
The Rangers could need just one more fill-in start from this spot in the rotation. Derek Holland, who is on the disabled list because of the effects of a stomach virus, begins a medical rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday and might be ready to return to the rotation as early as July 7 against the Twins.Grimm said he went after the Tigers the same way he did the Astros. He just wasn't as effective against the more potent AL lineup. "I still had the same plan, go out and execute and pound the zone," Grimm said. "I didn't walk many people, but my pitches weren't in the right spot." Mark Lowe followed Kirkman by pitching three innings and saving the rest of the bullpen. The Rangers had infielder Alberto Gonzalez warming up in the ninth in case Lowe couldn't get out of that inning. Washington said he did not want to use another reliever at that point with the Rangers down six runs. Tigers starter Rick Porcello won for only the second time in his last nine starts, holding the Rangers to one run through six-plus innings on six hits and three walks while striking out seven. "They had that big first inning, and at that point he was commanding his sinker," Rangers first baseman Michael Young said. "He worked ahead, threw strikes and forced us to make contact. He did a good job."
Porcello left with an 8-0 lead after walking Leonys Martin to start the seventh. The Rangers finally broke through with two outs when Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run off of reliever Brayan Villarreal. It was Hamilton's 23rd home run of the season but just his second in his last 21 games.
Grimm began his night by getting two strikes on Tigers leadoff hitter Austin Jackson. But after Grimm missed with a curve, Jackson smacked a 1-2 fastball to deep center for a double. Quintin Berry then beat out a bunt and Miguel Cabrera put the Tigers ahead with a two-run double to right-center.Grimm was able to get Prince Fielder on a grounder to third. But Cabrera moved up to third on the play and scored on a single by Delmon Young. Brennan Boesch's weak grounder to the mound produced the second out of the inning, but Young went to second. He scored on a double by Jhonny Peralta, and Ramon Santiago's single made it 5-0. Gerald Laird also singled before Grimm got Jackson on a fly to left to end the inning. But Grimm started the second by walking Berry and giving up a single to Cabrera. With runners at the corners, Kirkman took over, but Fielder's sacrifice fly added one more run to Grimm's account and to his official initiation to the American League. "He'll be fine," Young said. "He'll learn from it. He's a young kid going against a really good lineup. He'll be better because of it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.