DETROIT - Before Friday night's game against the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire welcomed Steve Yzerman to Comerica Park.
Just on the other side of Woodward Avenue, at Little Caesars Arena, Yzerman was being introduced as the Detroit Red Wings' general manager.
"Come on over," Gardenhire said. "He can figure out who's going to close tonight."
Gardenhire didn't have to worry about that, in the end. He was ejected in the fifth inning, and a rough seventh inning left the Tigers far enough behind for it not to matter.
Jordan Zimmermann couldn't shake his struggles against Chicago, showing subpar control - he walked four batters - and the Tigers didn't do nearly enough offensively in a 7-3 loss.
Zimmermann, who wasn't thrilled with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor's strike zone, pitched into the seventh inning, but allowed five runs on six hits.
The game got out of hand in the seventh inning, when Chicago scored five runs.
In the loss, Josh Harrison hit his first home run with the Tigers this season and Grayson Greiner hit his first big league home run.
Trailing by a run, Zimmermann was undone in the seventh. His pitch count was elevating and he allowed the first two men to reach on a walk and a single. After a swinging strikeout, Zimmermann was unable to escape the inning when Leury Garcia hit a seeing-eye single through the drawn-in infield. Zimmermann struck out four batters, walked four batters and came off the mound shaking his head at Tichenor for his strike zone inconsistency.
Gardenhire was ejected for the 78th time, arguing balls and strikes with Tichenor in the fifth inning after Zimmermann walked Yoan Moncada with the bases loaded. Zimmermann's 3-1 pitch appeared to hit the bottom of the zone. The ejection was not grandiose; Gardenhire said his words, threw his gum onto the field and left.
Many Tigers layers have been waiting impatiently for Greiner to hit his first major league home run, since late last season. It has been the individual accomplishment many most wanted to see checked off. Following his first career three-hit game Thursday, Greiner hit his first home run in the seventh inning Friday. The solo shot went out to left field. Despite trailing at the time, the Tigers' dugout was a happy place after Greiner's homer.
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