Looper blasted in rain-shortened loss
Fielder homers, but starter hit hard as Brewers fall in opener
DETROIT -- Milwaukee wasn't the only city pelted by rain on Friday. Brewers starter Braden Looper might have been the only one on either side of Lake Michigan who wanted it to keep on falling.
Even if he wouldn't admit it."It's not like I'm sitting there cheering for the rain," Looper said. "I'm hoping we can score some runs more than anything. You can't control that stuff. You try not to think about it." Instead of providing a mulligan, Mother Nature offered just enough of a window for the Tigers to make official a 10-4 win over the Brewers that was called with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Prince Fielder hit a three-run home run in the first inning off Tigers starter Armando Galarraga, who was working with a 7-4 lead before the first delay but didn't pitch the five innings necessary for a win. Instead, it went to Zach Miner (4-1), who worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings after play resumed. The night was declared a washout at 12:18 local time. Friday's game might be better remembered as the first in Major League history to feature two instances of instant replay. The new rules hurt Looper's (5-4) cause in the third inning, when Miguel Cabrera's double was correctly changed to a homer. But it helped him in the fourth, when Tigers catcher Dusty Ryan was at first credited with a go-ahead, two-run home run in the fourth inning that was later changed to an RBI double that tied the game at 4. The ruling only delayed Detroit's decisive rally. Ryan scored on Adam Everett's single for a 5-4 lead, and Curtis Granderson followed with a two-run homer that didn't require replay. As pitching coach Bill Castro strode to the mound for a word with Looper, rain began falling for the first time. The game was still a half-inning short of being official at that point, and Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun wouldn't have blamed Looper for rooting for it to keep on falling. "Of course. It was 7-4, and it would be nice to start over and kind of get a mulligan," Braun said. "It happens. It was kind of nice to finish the game because we didn't want to play on our off-day either, and [both teams] have an off-day on Monday. It's not the way we wanted to start the series." Two hours and three minutes later, play resumed with Chris Narveson on the mound for Milwaukee. He worked 2 2/3 innings and allowed three more runs on three hits, including Detroit designated hitter Marcus Thames' second two-run homer of the night. As Thames rounded the bases, the rain was falling again. When he touched the plate, the Brewers were called off the field for the final time. "It was an interesting night," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. It was the Brewers' first rain-shortened game since right-hander Allen Levrault was credited with a five-inning complete game in an 11-1 win in St. Louis on May 30, 2001. Looper pitched 3 2/3 innings before the first delay and was charged with seven runs, all of which scored with two outs. He termed the outing "frustrating," a word he has used often while running up a 7.97 ERA in his four June starts. "It's a frustrating night because the guys scored some runs," Looper said. "You want to make that stand. The guys did that for me and I just [stunk]." Looper's early lead didn't last long. He surrendered a leadoff single to Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the inning, then struck out both Placido Polanco and Miguel Cabrera to get to Thames. Looper threw a 1-1 offspeed pitch to Thames, who deposited it over the left-field fence to cut the deficit to 3-2. "When you get a three-run lead, it's a little disappointing when you come back to the dugout and you've given up two," Macha said. Cabrera tied the game in the third inning with another two-out homer that was originally ruled a double. But replays showed that the baseball actually struck a structure over the wall and then caromed back into play. Granderson hit a hanging split-fingered fastball the following inning. "Looper left a lot of breaking balls out over the plate," Macha said. "These guys are pretty good at hitting breaking balls, and they didn't miss them. They weren't just hits, they were homers." Milwaukee pushed back ahead in the top of the fourth inning on Craig Counsell's sacrifice fly, but Looper surrendered the lead again in the bottom of that inning. "Right now even when I feel like I pitch really good, I give up a few runs," Looper said. "It's frustrating. I wasn't very good tonight and I have to be better than that."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.