"We battled back to get in the game and made their closer get a four-out save, so we're proud of that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his club, which saw its lead in the American League West fall to five games over the Rangers with the loss. "But obviously falling behind by 10 runs is a thorn right now. We have to do a better job of containing teams."
The Angels rallied to get within three runs of the Tigers in the eighth inning on a three-run home run by Bobby Abreu against reliever Brandon Lyon and had the tying-run at the plate with two outs with Juan Rivera facing Tigers closer Fernando Rodney.
Rivera, though, grounded out to second base to end the inning and the threat while Rodney pitched a perfect ninth to secure the Tigers' win to increase their lead in the AL Central to 3 1/2 games over the White Sox.
"You can see why they're a first-place team," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of the Angels. "They're going to play nine innings every night. They're very good. They're very talented. They don't quit.
"That's one of their trademarks."
The fact that the Angels even made it close was quite the feat, considering they were behind by 10 runs against one of baseball's best pitchers in Justin Verlander.
But the Angels got to Verlander in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring four runs on the right-hander, including four straight hits with two outs.
"Our guys made some adjustments," Scioscia said. "Verlander is as tough as there is in the game out there. We did as much as we could on the offensive side to get back in the ballgame but it changes the dynamics when you're down, 10-0."
Torii Hunter got the Angels on the board with a run-scoring double before Kendry Morales added one of his own. Maicer Izturis, Mike Napoli and Erick Aybar then had three consecutive singles to plate two runs before reliever Bobby Seay came in to strike out Chone Figgins and end the threat with two runners on.
But the Angels attempt at a comeback couldn't mask the troubles of the bullpen that imploded in a seven-run sixth inning for the Tigers.
Angels starter Jered Weaver exited with the game certainly in reach with the Angels down, 3-0, with two runners on and one out in the sixth inning. Weaver's only blemishes to that point came from the bat of Miguel Cabrera, who had a run-scoring double in the first and a two-run homer in the fifth.
But after Weaver was removed, the bullpen simply self-destructed as Darren Oliver allowed a run-scoring single to Curtis Granderson before being removed for Jose Arredondo, who struggled even more.
Arredondo allowed a run-scoring single to Placido Polanco and a run-scoring double to Miguel Cabrera before allowing a three-run homer to Carlos Guillen that gave the Tigers a 10-0 lead.
"The one inning got away from us," Weaver said. "If we were able to keep them off the bases in the sixth, it would've been a completely different game."
In all, Weaver's numbers were distorted by the bullpen, as the right-hander allowed five runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings with two strikeouts and two walks.
"Weav pitched a lot better than his line score is going to show," Scioscia said. "Cabrera had that double and hit one for a home run, but other than that, Weav was all right. But he did a need a lot of pitches to get that point, and I think it took a lot out of him."
So although the bullpen struggled in the sixth inning, the club was able to make it close behind the pitching of reliever Matt Palmer who replaced Rafael Rodriguez in the seventh inning after Rodriguez suffered a bruised right hand when a line drive hit him in the seventh inning.
Palmer stepped in to throw 2 1/3 hitless innings to allow the Angels to make their run at a comeback in the eighth inning.
"Palmer came in and did a great job," Figgins said. "He kept them down so we could battle back."
Even with the loss, however, the Angels proved they can't be counted out of any game with their never-quit attitude.
"You never know with our team," Figgins said. "We just hope to battle and stay in the game long enough. We were able to get to their bullpen, but they've got a good closer in Rodney, and he was able to shut us down those last two innings."