The O's five game winning streak came to an end as their bats just couldn't make the most of their opportunities and the bullpen ruined the shaky but ultimately good outing by Jeremy Guthrie.
Early in the game Guthrie's stuff looked great. His pitches had a lot of movement and he was striking out people left and right. Despite that, he gave up two solo home runs, one each to Curtis Granderson and Clete Thomas. A third run would score on a single in the 4th. Guthrie finished 6 innings of work with an amazing 10 strikeouts but did not receive a decision.
The Orioles bullpen was not interested in being effective today. Matt Albers started the 7th in relief of Guthrie and immediately gave up a home run to Clete Thomas, his second of the day. Albers would allow another run in the 8th, and with the Orioles trailing 5-3, Dave Trembley decided to bring in Jamie Walker. I mean, why? WHY? WHY? JAMIE WALKER IS BAD AT BASEBALL! Clete Freaking Thomas was at bat again, and doubled in the 6th run of the game for the Tigers (charged to Matt Albers). Brian Bass came in to get the final out. Frankly, in my opinion Brian Bass is who should have been in from the get go, but what do I know?
This just in: Justin Verlander is good at baseball. He held the Orioles to just two hits in the first four innings, a single by Huff in the 2nd and a double by Nick Markakis in the 4th. Things were looking very grim, until when, in the fifth inning, one Matthew Wieters stepped to the plate. Verlander challenged him with the heat that he's known for, and Matt Wieters launched the ball into center field. Curtis Granderson raced toward the wall and I was sure it was gone. But Matt Wieters wasn't interested in proving that he can lazily jog around the bases. Instead Matt Wieters flew around the bases and got himself a triple. Excellent first hit, Matt Wieters! I look forward to seeing 3,000 more,
With Matt Wieters at third, that other rookie Nolan Reimold lined a single up the middle. As Matt Wieters scored easily, I saw the future, and it was good. Sadly, the present wasn't much to rave about. With Reimold on first and no outs, Cesar Izturis singled on a bunt that Melvin Mora would be proud of. Follow that with a Brian Roberts single and the bases were loaded with no outs. Now we're in business, right? WRONG. Young Adam Jones, who did not have a good night, had a horrible swing on a horrible ball and grounded into an even more horrible 1-2-3 double play. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Nick Markakis struck out swinging. Sigh.
The Orioles would get another chance in the 6th. With one out and Melvin Mora on first, Luke Scott stepped to the plate. Verlander had managed to contain Luke for his first two at bats, but he would not be successful for a third time. I know that I use the word crushed a lot when it comes to Luke Scott, but there just isn't another word for what Luke did to the baseball. It was a no doubt HR off the bat and landed in the back row of the bleachers. It was gorgeous. Luke's 10th home run in 10 career games against the Tigers tied the game at 3-3, but that would be the last run the Orioles would get. After Luke's HR, Matt Wieters drilled a ground rule double into right center field and sadly he was stranded, but not before Adam Everett was seen trying to touch the hem of his jersey.
The Orioles last missed opportunity came in the 7th. After Brian Roberts walked and Adam Jones capped off his 0-5 night with a flyout to center field, Nick Markakis hit his 2nd double of the night. That put O's on 2nd and 3rd, but Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora couldn't get the job done.
It was a frustrating night. Justin Verlander was good, but not great. The Orioles had plenty of opportunities but couldn't come through against Verlander or the other four pitchers the Tigers used today. Sometimes you have to tip your cap to a team who makes the pitches when they have to, but to have runners in scoring position and less than two outs so many times this game without coming through was hard to watch.
The O's and Tigers finish their four game series tomorrow as Jason Berken pitches against Edwin Jackson at 1:35 p.m., after which the O's head out to Seattle to see our old friend Monsieur Bedard.