Things went quickly for Angels' starter Joe Saunders Thursday.
In the Angels' 5-4 loss to Detroit, he threw just 2-2/3 innings, giving up six hits and five earned runs, his shortest outing since Aug. 7, 2009, against Texas and also the fifth-shortest outing of his career.
He threw just 59 pitches, 29 for strikes, but that was all it took for Angels Manager Mike Scioscia to notice something was off.
"He was having trouble getting ahead early in the counts," Scioscia said. "I think he was troubled when he did get back in some spots to put some hitters away. It just looked like it was going to be tough for him to get back in sync."
Saunders was pulled for Matt Palmer, who threw 4-1/3 innings and gave up four hits and no runs.
"It was obviously not our preference to get into the pen in the third inning, but tonight ... it didn't look like Joe was where he needed to be," Scioscia continued, crediting Detroit's lineup.
Saunders said afterward he was surprised to get pulled so early.
"I'm always surprised when Mike comes out and gets me. I didn't want to come out of the game, he thought otherwise, and he's the manager," Saunders said.
To put the five earned runs Saunders gave up against the Tigers in perspective, consider that the Angels' starters had allowed just seven total earned runs in their last six starts ... combined.
Some other notes:
-- It was the first time in eight games the Angels have allowed a first-inning run. The last came April 13 against the New York Yankees.
-- In their nine losses, the Angels have hit just 12 for 68 (.176) with runners in scoring position.
-- Angels relievers issued five walks Friday night and have 35 this year, the most in the American League.
-- Bobby Abreu finished 3-for-4 four with two doubles, a run, and a walk. The five bases he reached Thursday make him the 14th active player to reach the 3,500 total bases mark.
-- Baxter Holmes