"It's baseball," Girardi said. "For whatever reason he didn't have it today."
Tanaka allowed three home runs (a career high), seven runs (tied for a career high) and 10 hits (tied for a career high) over five innings. It was the first time he had given up more than two runs since April 12 against the Red Sox.
Girardi, Tanaka and catcher Brian McCann all attributed the pitcher's demise on Sunday to location issues. But Girardi didn't totally know why that happened.
"I'm just going to go back to it: [Felix Hernandez] gave up eight runs in a third of an inning. These are human beings that go out there. Some days they just don't have it," Girardi said. "A lot of times we try to make too much out of it. He didn't have it today and they made him pay. He'll get back on track."
Tanaka echoed the sentiments of his manager, articulating that he was missing his spots by wide margins and that he intends to make a couple of tweaks before his next outing.
His ERA increased from 2.49 to 3.17 after allowing five earned runs. The Tigers scored four runs in the opening inning on two-run homers hit by Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez.
"It was kind of a bad spiral. You want to start out strong, but you give up four runs. You don't want to do that in the first inning," he said. "But it happened. So hopefully I can get it back and be better next time."
Yet Tanaka wasn't the only one who struggled with the Tigers' lineup Sunday.
The bullpen gave up a combined five runs -- four from Danny Burawa and one from Jose De Paula, both making their Major League debuts. Both pitchers were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following the game.
McCann said he understood the adrenaline and the rush that the pitchers likely experienced in their debuts. Girardi gave Burawa some words of encouragement before he took the mound.
"He said, 'Enjoy it,'" Burawa said. "Obviously it didn't go how I wanted, but it's still a great experience, and I'll cherish it because you only get one."
As for Tanaka, Girardi wasn't concerned about the right-hander's ability to bounce back in his next outing. Occasionally, this type of thing happens, he indicated.
"He's pitched really well. I don't know if it was Father's Day, I don't know, first day of summer, who knows?" Girardi quipped. "He didn't have his command."
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.