When you give up home runs to Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, and Victor Martinez all in the same game, you're not going to be winning most of the time. The Orioles did not win on Thursday after doing precisely that. They fell to the Tigers, 6-4, the latest in a line of, "Well, at least it's still just spring training" games. The time for that excuse is running out.
Along with giving up the three home runs, the Orioles only mustered four hits in the whole game. This is a bit less of a concern if only because, it being a spring training road game, most of the batters were not regulars, or even players who will open up the season on the Orioles bench.
The O's managed to score four runs on their four hits, despite not walking at all in the game. That's impressive. Well, no, nothing about only getting four hits is impressive. They only had one home run of their own, a solo shot by Jayson Nix that briefly tied the game at 4 in the eighth inning.
Other than the Nix home run, the Orioles' offensive production took place in the fourth inning of the game. Dariel Alvarez and Jimmy Paredes had back-to-back one-out singles against Tigers starter David Price. Delmon Young cleared the bases with a triple (yes, really) and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nolan Reimold, giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead that held up for a few innings, until Tommy Hunter entered the game and promptly went boom.
Today's O's starter was Chris Tillman, who looked fine for a spring tune-up. Tillman went for 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk. He also struck out four. Tillman was pulled as he was approaching his pitch count goal of 75. Getting through 5.1 innings in 71 pitches will be just fine, in general.
Hunter relieved Tillman and gave up a home run to Cabrera almost immediately. In the next inning he gave up another homer to Cespedes. These two home runs were in two different innings but took place within a span of seven pitches. Tigers batters were ready to jump on Hunter early in the count. That was two runs surrendered in 1.2 innings for Hunter. He struck out three, covering two of the three true outcomes very well.
After Hunter came Gausman, who also got in on the home run party. It's tough to say how much was Gausman's fault and how much was a ridiculous wind that arrived late in the game in advance of a heavy rain. The ball went a long way, probably the result of Gausman going to a breaking pitch and speeding up the bat of Martinez. The wind made it look worse than it was. That's spring training for you. Also, don't speed up the bat.
Tomorrow's game is back in the TV/radio dark. The Orioles play the Rays in Sarasota but you won't see or hear it unless you're there. The game gets under way at the standard spring start time of 1:05.