Tigers 6, Orioles 5: Guthrie blows five-run lead, O's lose again

For the first two-thirds of this game, it appeared the Orioles might, for once, have a low-stress win. They got offense from two unexpected sources and starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was rolling. Then, in a flash, it was gone. Guthrie blew a four-run lead in the sixth inning, giving up six straight hits with two outs. The O's offense couldn't strike back, and they ended up losing again. 

The Orioles offense was contained to just one inning as they scored five runs in the second thanks to home runs from Vladimir Guerrero and Blake Davis. Yes, really. Adam Jones led off the inning with a single, bringing Vlad to the plate. His homer gave the O's a 2-0 lead, and was just his tenth on the year and first since July 30th.

Matt Wieters followed the home run with a single up the middle, then Chris Davis hit a ground ball that the Tigers second baseman, Ryan Raburn, gloved. He had plenty of time to throw the ball to second to get Wieters, but instead he tried to manufacture a highlight by flipping the ball directly out of his glove. It sailed over the shortstop's head and everyone was safe. Hey, thanks Ryan Raburn! 

Raburn's error gave the Orioles two runners on with no outs, and after Josh Bell flew out, Blake Davis came to the plate. As I was thinking of how unfortunate it is to have two on and none down for Bell, Davis, and Felix Pie, Davis hit a ball to deep left field. Left fielder Andy Dirks raced back and tried to make a leaping catch, but the ball was just out of his reach. Because the ball took a funny bounce out of stands and because Dirks was so close to it, the umpires reviewed the play. It stood, thankfully, and the Orioles had a five run lead. It was the first home run of Blake Davis' career. Congrats! That had to be an embarrassing inning for Max Scherzer, giving up home runs to those two. 

(Incidentally, I think it's funny how one umpire stays on the field while the other three review the play. He stands in the infield to make sure there are no shenanigans during the lull in action.)

Guthrie, meanwhile, got off to a good start. He had a perfect first inning, and while he gave up a hit and a walk in the second, he got out of it without any trouble thanks to a double play. After a 1-2-3 third inning, the Tigers finally got on the board in the fourth. Dirks led off with a double, then came around to score on a ground out and a sacrifice fly. Guthrie cruised through the fifth inning and retired the first two batters of the sixth, and then the meltdown began.

When I say meltdown, I'm not kidding. It happened so quickly that the Orioles didn't have time to get anyone warmed in the bullpen before the lead was entirely gone. With two outs and nobody on, Guthrie just started to get pummeled. Magglio Ordonez doubled in front of Miguel Cabrera, who hit his 23rd home run on the year. That cut the lead to two, and while it was frustrating, better pitchers than Guthrie have been victims of Ordonez and Cabrera. But then it didn't stop. Singles from Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta and a double from Alex Avila made the score 5-4 with runners on second and third, and Raburn singled in the tying and go-ahead runs.

After that, Guthrie was removed in favor of Chris Jakubauskas, but it was too late. The 5-0 lead was blown and the Orioles were in line for yet another loss.

As expected after something like this happens, the Orioles offense could not bounce back. They did get two runners on with one out in the seventh inning, but Pie and J.J. Hardy couldn't knock them in. Phil Coke then pitched a perfect eighth inning and closer Jose Valverde earned his 35th save of the year, allowing just a single to Chris Davis.

With that, the Orioles ensured a series loss, and they've now gone thirteen series without winning one, the last being against the Cincinnati Reds in the last week of June.  

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