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Bullpen Roughed Up Again, Tigers Blow Late Lead

Brad Penny’s debut in a Detroit Tigers uniform has gotten off to a rocky start.

Penny gave up four earned runs in just 5 1/3 innings of work on Thursday, but the bullpen failed to hold up again late as the Tigers lost 9-5 to Baltimore. Through two starts, Penny has an earned run average of 11.17.

Brad Thomas (0-1) took the loss for the Tigers, allowing a single to Brian Roberts and walking Nick Markakis to start the bottom of the seventh with the Tigers leading 5-4. Enrique Gonzalez relieved Thomas and struck out the first batter he faced, but gave up an RBI single to Vladimir Guerrero and a sacrifice fly to Adam Jones and the Tigers never sniffed the lead again.

The inning only got worse from there. Mark Reynolds doubled home Guerrero and Felix Pie, then Cesar Izturis singled home Reynolds off new pitcher Daniel Schlereth to push the lead to 9-5.

Alex Avila had another strong day at the plate for the Tigers, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the top of the fifth that gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Detroit finished their road trip at 2-4 and will open Comerica Park for the first time on Friday afternoon.

Detroit took an early lead in the first inning when Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez hit back-to-back RBI singles to give Detroit a 2-0 lead. Baltimore tied it up in the second inning with a solo home run from Guerrero and a run-scoring single from Reynolds.

After Avila homered to get the lead back in the fifth, Brennan Boesch scored Will Rhymes with a double in the same inning for a 4-2 lead. Baltimore again tied it rather quickly on Jones’ two-run homer in the sixth.

Austin Jackson hit an RBI double to deep left field in the top of the seventh to break the tie, but the bullpen couldn’t hang on.