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Tigers 12, Orioles 9: What the f*** just happened here?

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This is Birdland:

* Starting pitcher Kevin Millwood gave up five runs in one inning of work. He threw 45 pitches and did not return for the second inning.

* The next three Orioles pitchers (Mark Hendrickson, Koji Uehara, and Matt Albers) all gave up at least two runs.

* After scoring in each of the first three innings (knocking out Tigers starter Andrew Oliver after 1.2 IP), the Orioles batters did not score again until the 9th inning.

* The first two innings took 1 hour and 20 minutes to play.

* Cesar Izturis ended the game against a wild Jose Valverde by hacking at the first pitch, which he popped up weakly.

For all that the team's lack of offense has been a problem this year, you do have to give them some credit for not just rolling over after the deficit was 5-1 early on. In fact, the O's powered back with their own 5-spot in the top of the 2nd. Of course, they then let the Tigers take the score to 8-6 in the bottom of the 2nd inning. That was the end of the interesting parts of the game, though there were still seven innings left to play and plenty of scoring left to be done. The game was neither slow enough to set a record nor interesting enough to warrant constant attention to the death by a thousand paper cuts style of the game. Of the 31 combined hits, only one was a home run - a Jake Fox solo shot in the 3rd to bring the score to 8-7, which was as close as the O's would get for the day.

Some other lowlights:

* Miguel Tejada almost managing to GIDP with a runner on second base. On a grounder to short, Corey Patterson (who had just doubled) inexplicably started heading to third and got caught in a rundown. He prolonged the rundown long enough that Miggi felt the need to run to second - which he did successfully but just barely.

* More low-effort play on defense by Julio Lugo. In the bottom of the 7th, Brandon Inge hit a ball to deep center that scored two runs and tried to take second base. A strong throw in from the outfield beat the runner handily. Lugo proceeded to place the glove in front of second base and do nothing else. Alertly, Inge made a nice acrobatic slide to avoid the tag. No further damage resulted from this play, because Inge was stranded, but these are the sorts of plays that infuriate O's fans and make Lugo an easy target for the frustration that this season engenders.

There have certainly been more lopsided losses, but it never felt like we had a chance to win this one. Once the slugfest started it seemed inevitable that no matter what happened, our bullpen would out-fail their bullpen. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Valverde followed the classic "closer sucks in a non-save situation" pattern, but once the gap tightened to the final 12-9 score, the O's hitters started swinging at junk and mostly let him off the hook. For all that, the game ended with the tying run at the plate.

The loss sends the Orioles to a 9-32 record on the road to go along with a 25-57 record overall. Tomorrow, the Orioles will face shoulda-been-perfect Armando Galarraga, who's given up 14 ER in his last 14.1 IP. Starting for the Orioles in the middle game of the series is Jake Arrieta, who will be looking to improve on a 5.81 ERA in his sixth major-league start.