Defensive miscues leave Leyland frustrated

The Sports Xchange

Defense has not been a strong point of the Tigers this season.

As manager Jim Leyland says, though, if you're just noticing that now, you haven't been paying attention.

"It shouldn't be a shock," Leyland said recently. "We knew coming in we weren't going to be a great defensive team. If we just make the plays we should make, that's all you can ask."

If the team were hitting up to its potential, Leyland said, nobody would notice the defense.

The Tigers gave away an eighth-inning run Tuesday night on a pair of bad throws by the normally reliable Jhonny Peralta at short, and that was the difference as the Cubs downed Detroit 4-3.

"You give a team six outs, it's tough to win," catcher Gerald Laird said. "We gotta get this offense going early. It's tough coming out of holes all the time."

A one-out walk and a two-out scratch single to third put two runners on for Chicago in the eighth. Tony Campana then hit a grounder to short.

Peralta went for the force at second -- and delivered a high throw that led to a safe call at second. Replays appeared to show Ramon Santiago had his foot on the bag when he took the throw and then jumped to make it appear he was pulled off the bag.

One the next play, Starlin Castro grounded into the hole, and Peralta threw on the run to Prince Fielder instead of setting his feet before throwing. Again, the runner was called safe.

"I was pretty confident that Santiago not only beat the runner to the bag but the throw beat the runner to the bag," losing pitcher Phil Coke said. "I guess we could go look at the replay and see what it says.

"Then I knew for a fact that the guy was out at first base. There was no way his body came off the bag with the ball not in his glove. There's no way. He's pushing off the bag to get to the ball."

They're going into the books as a safe at second on a fielder's choice and an error on the shortstop.

"We just didn't get the outs," Leyland said. "Tough way to lose, you don't get the ball out of the infield and you lose the game. That's not good."

But if the Tigers score more than three runs, they at least have a tie.

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