By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers showed some signs of life in Thursday’s loss to the Oakland Athletics, but ultimately a late comeback attempt failed, and the team has to live with the losing streak story line for another day, now mired in a seven-game slump, the team’s longest one since 2011.

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For the past week, players have acknowledged trying to do too much, making some in-game decisions they would not have made were the team not trying to stop a skid.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler has made a point to speak with various players and remind them to approach the game the same way each time, regardless of what happened in the last game.

Players have struggled at times, however, to keep a sense of urgency from overtaking them.

“We’re all trying to do something to win a game,” Kinsler said Thursday, “and sometimes you get caught up in that. You get caught up in what’s happened the last five days instead of just playing the game, being free and playing. That’s the biggest thing is you can’t let what happened yesterday affect what’s going on in the game today, and that’s really it.

“It’s a mentality,” Kinsler added. “It’s a mentality to just trust yourself and trust your teammates and honestly just trust the game that good things are going to happen if you play the right way.”

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The Tigers, who currently have two starters on the disabled list in catcher Alex Avila and designated hitter Victor Martinez, have struggled to score runs. Going into Thursday’s game, Detroit had turned in three or fewer runs in eight of its last nine games.

Kinsler said starting pitchers are feeling the heat because the offense has sputtered so much.

“Right now it’s a little bit of a tug-of-war where the pitchers feel like they have to be perfect,” Kinsler said. “They don’t want to give up any runs, they want to make sure that we have an opportunity to score first and get a lead, play with a lead, so that adds more pressure to them, and then if they make any kind of mistake or the other team scores one or two runs, then it feels like it’s going to be tough for us to get going offensively.

“But that’s really not the case,” Kinsler added. “That’s what happens when you’re in something like this … You just try to make sure that everybody understands that as best as possible and get ready for tomorrow.”

A so-called moral victory does nothing for a team’s win-loss record or its place in the standings, but the Tigers hope that Thursday’s ninth-inning comeback – which included a three-run home run by outfielder Tyler Collins – will prove to be the spark it has been needing.

“When you’re in a streak like this, three, four runs can feel like a mountain, so you have to keep everything in perspective, and you have to continue to play, you have nine innings, you have a lot of outs to manage, and try to find any way you can to put a run on the board and try to get back in the game, and the ninth there, we did,” Kinsler said. “It was a little short, but it was nice to see.”

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The Tigers now start a three-game series on the road against the Chicago White Sox, who are in last place in the American League Central Division.