In the eighth, Lange makes one step forward and one step back.

 Alex Lange

Dearborn -- The Comerica Park sound system usually blasts Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" as Alex Lange hits the mound for his warm-up throws. The excitement complements his high-octane demeanor, and it serves as his entrance song as a closer.

With an eight-run disadvantage, Lange still received approximately 10 seconds of his music as he finished his pregame warmups, but the most of his pitches were made to the tune of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." That ballpark standard was the night's sing-along tune, and it also seemed like a better fit for the scene.

In the end, the Tigers lost 9-3 against the Twins, so this wasn't about attempting to keep them close enough for a comeback. It wasn't just about Lange filling an inning after Joey Wentz, the starter, gave up eight runs on ten hits in three innings, despite the fact that manager A.J. Hinch claimed he employed just about every pitcher who was readily available.

Lange was pulled from the game two days earlier with a lead in the ninth inning due to weeks of control problems, so this was, at least in part, a prescribed inning for him to practice throwing strikes. He had the opportunity to turn the tide and regain the form that had made him a reliable closer in the first few months.

Lange's ongoing difficulties demonstrated that the strike-throwing is still a work in progress.

Before flipping a breaking ball to fan Jordan Luplow, Lange threw a fastball to the outside corner and a curveball to the inside edge. But after five pitches, Michael A. Taylor was given a walk, and a 3-2 fastball that was nowhere near Donovan Solano caused the control to slip. Joey Gallo didn't offer at any of the five pitches he saw en route to a two-out walk, but Jorge Polanco successfully pursued a 2-2 changeup well off the plate for the second out.

Max Kepler had nowhere to go, so Lange threw two fastballs at his feet, the second of which struck him and brought in a run for a 9-0 advantage.

Ryan Jeffers was Lange's penultimate batter, according to Hinch, as the pitch total increased. Lange would suffer the humiliation of being replaced by a position player, Zack Short, if Jeffers reached. Lange got a strike on a first-pitch curveball, got Jeffers to chase a breaking ball down for a second strike, and then got a strike on a 96 mph fastball on the outside corner from plate umpire Pat Hoberg.

Lange had a crazy inning with 29 pitches, 13 strikes, and 0 balls in play. Only one of Lange's 14 fastballs was swung at by the Twins, who took six of them for strikes.

Positively, we know he's going to miss bats, so that's something," Hinch said following the game. Naturally, it was crucial for him to complete his inning. As fantastic as it is to strike out hitters, continuing to succeed by allowing free baserunners is simply not possible.

"[We're] going to keep supporting him and pushing him, but within the inning, one step forward, one step back."

For the third time in a row, Lange intentionally fouled out three batters. He is the first Tigers pitcher to record three consecutive appearances with three or more walks in one or fewer innings since at least 1901, and the first MLB pitcher to do so in the same season since White Sox reliever Rob Dibble in his first three appearances of 1995, according to research on baseball-reference.

In his final Major League season, Dibble walked 46 hitters over 26 1/3 innings between Chicago and Milwaukee. His career had a meteoric ascent with Cincinnati in 1988. After completing his first full Major League season last year, Lange is just getting started. Before this streak, he had never walked three batters in a game and had never walked multiple batters in an inning this year until May 14, his 18th appearance.

Lange said before Monday's game: "You can't appreciate the good without the bad, so I'm happy for the hardships. "I'll keep learning and getting better," you say.

It will be interesting to observe what transpires when the Tigers face another save circumstance. Despite never technically designating Lange as the team's closer, Hinch has continued to support him. But he has recognized that Detroit might need to think beyond the box.

We will have to weigh all of our choices in light of the current situation, Hinch stated on Sunday. But for Alex to remain effective and in leverage, the strikes must rise regardless of the inning he pitches in.