DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Boyd watched his third pitch get sent into the left-field seats.
The Los Angeles Angels didn’t get much accomplished against Detroit’s left-hander after the game-opening blast and failed to prevent a second-year player from having his best performance at the plate.
Boyd pitched six strong innings and Ronny Rodríguez drove in a career-high four runs, helping the Tigers beat the Angels 10-3 Wednesday night.
Rodríguez hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the first inning. He had an RBI single in the two-run third and a run-scoring double in the four-run fifth to put Detroit up 7-1 and match his career high with three hits.
That was plenty of support for Boyd, who had his seventh straight quality start.
Boyd (4-2) allowed only one run on David Fletcher’s leadoff homer and just two more hits following the blast.
“He locked it down after that,” Detroit catcher John Hicks said.
Boyd had six strikeouts, including two while facing superstar Mike Trout and one against AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani.
“I don’t know if I would have ever predicted that Matt Boyd was going to become a strikeout pitcher,” said Angels manager Brad Ausmus, who led the Tigers from 2014-2017. “I thought he had a very good chance to be a solid major league pitcher, but his slider is as good as we’ve seen from any left-handed pitcher this season.”
Trout was 0 for 4 and matched a season high with three strikeouts.
“We’ve set such an impossibly high standard for Mike that it seems like he’s in a terrible slump if he goes hitless for one game,” Ausmus said. “I don’t think he feels great at the plate right now, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
Ohtani, who was 0 for 4 in his season debut Tuesday, was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and was hit on his right elbow by a pitch.
Tyler Skaggs (3-3) gave up eight runs — seven earned — on eight hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings. He was 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his two previous starts, coming off the injured list with a sprained left ankle, and had allowed just nine runs over his first five starts this year.
“Even though I thought I threw pretty well, they were hitting my mistakes,” Skaggs said.
Angels: Ohtani is not throwing this week, following his previously planned program. The two-way player had Tommy John surgery in October and is not expected to pitch this season. … RHP Keynan Middleton, recovering from Tommy John surgery, is throwing again after having a minor setback.
Tigers: Manager Ron Gardenhire said he was feeling OK a day after an allergic reaction to something he ate or drank led to him leaving the dugout early in Tuesday night’s game. … IF Josh Harrison is scheduled to play three games this week in Lakeland, Florida, to prepare for his comeback from a strained right leg.
Angels star Albert Pujols was perhaps a couple feet from reaching 2,000 career RBIs, a total just Hank Aaron (2,297) and Alex Rodríguez (2,086) have reached since the statistic has been recorded since 1920. Pujols hit a long fly to left that was caught by Niko Goodrum just above the wall.
“Albert is hitting the ball well, but he hit some balls hard to the worst part of this place,” Ausmus said. “Comerica Park is where home runs go to die.”
WHO’S ON FIRST?
With Ohtani in the lineup most games as a designated hitter, Ausmus plans to play Pujols against all left-handed pitchers and some right-handers while giving Justin Bour some chances to hit against right-handed pitchers.
“I’m going to be very cognizant of taking care of Albert and keeping him healthy the entire season,” Ausmus said.
Angels: TBA. The team did not announce who would pitch Thursday in the series finale.
Tigers: LHP Ryan Carpenter. Detroit recalled him from Triple-A Toledo to make his first start of the season after 1-2 with a 7.25 ERA last season, his first in the majors.