Slumping Tigers determined to improve

Slumping Tigers determined to improve

NEW YORK -- Saturday night's 14-3 loss to the Yankees may be the low point in a stretch that's seen the Tigers lose 14 of their past 20 games, including their past four. The slide has come from all fronts: On the mound, the Tigers have given up 34 runs in their past four games. At the plate, they've scored just 11.

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Blowouts happen. Every team finds itself on the wrong end of a landslide a few times in a 162-game season. But some times are better than others for that to happen, manager Brad Ausmus said.

"After losing a few in a row and you get blown out on the end of it, obviously the bitterness is more biting," Ausmus said.

There's a lot of season left. But the Tigers are falling further behind in a division that's been more competitive than they might have anticipated.

The Tigers sit at .500, 6 1/2 games behind the Royals in the American League Central.

There's plenty of time left, but the turnaround needs to come sooner than later, designated hitter Victor Martinez said.

"We need something to get going," Martinez said. "If we keep playing like this, we're going nowhere, that's no secret."

They'll hope that something is Anibal Sanchez, who will take the mound in Sunday's series finale. Sanchez threw a shutout in his last start, and Ausmus said he has the ability to play stopper to the skid.

However it comes, the Tigers are starting to recognize a change is in order.

"We just need to play better baseball," Martinez said. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish."

Alden Woods is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.