"He had a really good changeup working. Very impressive," Servais said. "We tried to ride him as long as we could, but they got some big hits and got the runs in from third. That was the difference in the game tonight."
Paxton's previous best outing was a no-decision during a 2-1 Seattle loss vs. Texas in which he allowed six hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
Dueling with Detroit righty Justin Verlander, Paxton got through five innings without allowing a run before he gave up single runs in the sixth and seventh. But he still found himself in good shape before things began to unravel in the eighth.
He allowed two straight one-out hits before an intentional walk to Justin Upton with first base open to load the bases. He spotted a 99-mph fastball on the outside corner on a 1-2 count to Mike Aviles, only to have him slap it down right in front of the plate to score the go-ahead run from third. Paxton said he was frustrated that pitch didn't pay off.
"That's baseball right there," he said. "That stuff's going to happen, and hopefully we get some of those breaks going our way pretty soon."
Paxton was happy with working deep, though he said he wasn't thinking much about it at the time. As for a positive to take away from the game, he said it was the way his changeup looked, something he has been working on this season.
"It was feeling really good early, and it was keeping them off the fastball, and working really well," Paxton said.
Kyle Seager, who opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the sixth, took notice of Paxton's solid performance.
"He was special tonight," Seager said. "I think his final line doesn't really tell how good he was. He was attacking guys, he was going right at guys, throwing strikes. They had a lot of ground balls that found holes, but there weren't really too many balls that were hit that well off him. I thought he was great."
Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.