The starting pitching was good enough to overcome shaky defense, the hitters looked great, and the Orioles were cruising for a win until Kevin Gregg entered the picture. He took what should have been an easy win and turned it into a save situation for Jim Johnson. That's because there is no such thing as an easy win with this team.
Let's talk offense first, because the offense was the best part of the game. Doug Fister made the start for the Tigers, and while he is not a very good pitcher, he's always held the Orioles in check. Not today, as they got on the board in the very first inning courtesy of Nick Markakis' 12th home run of the year. Nolan Reimold scored on the play the O's were up 2-0. The scored another solo run in the second inning as Robert Andino singled in Chris Davis.
The Nick and Nolan team struck again in the fifth inning. Reimold started the inning with a double and came around to score on a single by Markakis. Adam Jones followed that with a single of his own and moved to second as the Tigers tried to throw out Markakis at third. Then even Vladimir Guerrero decided to join in the fun as he singled to score both runners.
Craig Tatum started the sixth inning at the plate and hit a sharp ball to third that Ryan Raburn couldn't handle. Tater reached on the error, his third time on base in the game. Tatum then awesomely stole second base and came around to score on another single by Markakis. Adam Jones added an RBI single for the O's eighth run of the game. That should be enough to win a game, right? Well, it was, but just barely.
Jo-Jo Reyes, who didn't make a very good impression in his first start for the Orioles, looked like a different pitcher today. He was far from perfect, but for Jo-Jo Reyes it doesn't get much better. He got out of the first inning thanks to a double play and worked around two singles in the second. The only run he allowed came in the third inning, and it was after a play that should have been made. Utility player Ramon Santiago hit a pop up to right field that Markakis and Andino chased into foul territory. It looked like either of them could have made the catch, but at the last second they just looked at each other as the ball hit the ground. On the very next pitch, Santiago homered. Well done, fellas.
Reyes completed six innings, allowing just one run on four hits. He struck out four and walked two. New Oriole Willie Eyre relieved Reyes and was impressive. He pitched two innings and allowed just one single, but Mark Reynolds made two errors behind him. I miss him at first base. Thankfully neither error resulted in runs, and Eyre had a successful outing.
Not the same can be said for Kevin Gregg. Brought in to get some work with a seven-run lead, Gregg was a disaster. Three singles to start the inning loaded the bases, after which Gregg walked in two runs. After Austin Jackson singled to make the score 8-4, Gregg was pulled for Jim Johnson. Poor Jim. He really should have been able to rest today. Instead he came in with the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate with no outs. Sigh. JJ got the job done, though. He struck out Andy Dirks and retired Magglio Ordonez on a ground out. Alex Avila scored on the play to cut the O's lead to three. With first base open, the Orioles elected to walk Miguel Cabrera intentionally. That looked like it might be a mistake when pinch hitter Brennan Boesch hit a ball down the left field line, but Reimold chased it down for the final out.