Tigers fall back in playoff race with loss to Giants

Porcello struggles before rain delay; Royals, Mariners both win

Tigers fall back in playoff race with loss to Giants

DETROIT -- The last time the Giants took the field at Comerica Park, they ended the Tigers' title dreams by completing a sweep of the 2012 World Series. Their return effort Friday night put the Tigers back on the outside of the 2014 postseason picture.

With an 8-2 Tigers loss, it was decisive enough of a rematch that Detroit's best hope was Mother Nature. Like Tigers hitters, even she couldn't slow down Jake Peavy.

Peavy outlasted the rain, Rick Porcello and the Tigers, pitching six quality innings on a night when the Giants roughed up Porcello for six runs (five earned) in just three innings. As a result, not only did Detroit fall two games behind Kansas City in the American League Central, it fell out of the second AL Wild Card spot. A Mariners win moved Seattle a half-game ahead.

At two hours, 48 minutes, the game lasted barely longer than the two-hour, 42-minute rain delay between the third and fourth innings. With a six-run deficit at that point, though, the Tigers' best hope was that the delay would never end.

Instead of watching the scoreboard, they were watching the radar, and a line of storms that stretched at the point from Detroit to Chicago.

"It was discussed," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of a rainout, "because the radar looked so bad, but ultimately it's in the hands of the umpires. The radar looked really bad for a while there, and it kind of cleared up. But when we took the field, they were still concerned we were going to get rain 45 minutes in, but it seemed to kind of dissipate."

Had the umpires called the game, they would've had to start over as part of a doubleheader on Saturday or Sunday, and all the early damage off Porcello would've been erased. Once a window of dry weather opened after more than two hours, the Tigers' window of opportunity essentially closed, even though they finally got to Peavy for two runs in the fifth.

"If you looked at the radar, it wasn't pretty," Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "We finally got a window going. It was well worth it. The last thing we wanted to do was start this thing over. "

Ten of the 19 Giants who faced Porcello (15-10) churned out base hits, eight of them singles. It was the opposite of his loss to the White Sox last Sunday, when a flurry of Tigers defensive miscues doomed his chances.

All three innings featured leadoff hits. For Porcello, the first-inning single from Angel Pagan seemed to set the tone for the night.

"The 2-2 curveball to Pagan was not a bad pitch," Porcello said. "It was down in the zone. It caught the middle of the plate, but usually that's about the spot where I want to throw that pitch. It kind of just really started from there. He set the tone and then I threw a pretty good changeup to Pablo Sandoval. I thought that thing was down before he hit it [for an RBI single].

"Really I think a lot of the bad pitches started to come in the third inning. First and second inning, I actually felt like I made some good pitches and they were just getting hits."

The one base hit the Giants did hit to a Tigers defender smacked off Porcello's right foot, knocking him over as the ball ricocheted to third base. Brandon Crawford beat Nick Castellanos' throw to first as Gregor Blanco scored for the second time on the night.

"It's a little sore now, but I felt fine," Porcello said. "It shouldn't be a problem. It was towards the back of the foot, in between the ankle and the heel."

Porcello stayed in the game, retiring Pagan to finish the third inning, but he would've been done after that, even without the severe thunderstorm that hit right after the final out in the bottom of the inning.

Peavy (5-13) retired nine of the first 10 Tigers he faced, sat through the rain delay, then came back out for the fourth. The only two runs allowed reached base in the fifth inning on an infield single that squirted under Sandoval's glove and a line drive that bounced off Blanco's glove for a two-base error. Sandoval, whose three-homer performance in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series earned him MVP honors, added a solo home run off Buck Farmer in the sixth.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.