The offense struggled tonight against former Orioles Alfredo Simon, who for some reason did not get a video tribute for his return. Do you remember his Orioles tenure? He started for a while and then closed and then killed a man in the Dominican Republic while wildly firing a gun at New Year's party. Development is never linear as they say. Simon was able to resurrect his career in Cincinnati as a dependable innings eater and was traded to Detroit before this season.
Simon was junk balling all night long never really touching over 90 mph. Yet, the Orioles offense seemed incapable of making any solid contact. They were no hit through three innings. Simon was chucking up splitters, curves, eephus pitches, and everything else other than a fastball to keep hitters off balance.
Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez struggled in the first inning giving up hits to both Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias to start the game. However, Chris Davis would throw out Kinsler trying to advance to third as Kinsler over slid on the bag. Next up was Yoenis Cespedes who tapped an infield hit which after a line out from Victor Marintnez gave J.D. Martinez first and third with two down. J.D. Martinez would smoke a ground ball down the line just out of the reach of Manny Machado scoring two.
The fourth inning would also not be kind to Miguel. After walking Nick Castellanos and giving up a single to James McCann and one down Rajai Davis smoked a ball into the right center field gap which Chris Davis misplayed into a stand up triple. 4-0 Tigers. Kinsler then blooped a single to center scoring Davis easily, 5-0 Tigers. That would be the night for Miguel Gonzalez. Three and third innings pitched ten hits (TEN!!!) five runs, one walk, and one strikeout.
Next up in the firing line was Bud Norris who would give up a double to Iglesias and then on the first pitch surrender a home run to Cespedes. 7-0 Tigers. The Orioles would touch up Simon finally in the fourth. After a lead off walk by Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones smoked a home run, his 16th on the year, into the left field stands. 7-2 Tigers. However, even with Simon laboring, the Orioles would do no more damage in the fourth. Nor would they do anymore damage in the fifth inning, after a line out and two pop outs. The junk was working. It's particularly enraging to watch major league players fail to barrel up a 65 mph pitch.
Norris gave up two more runs in sixth inning on a lot hits by most of the Tigers. 9-2 Detroit. Do you want more detail or do you want this to just be over with? Norris would provide two and two thirds innings of garbage relief giving up six hits, four runs, two walks, and two strike outs.
The sixth inning would bring some more trouble for Simon. After getting two outs, he would walk Jones and then Chris Davis smashed a ball onto the flag court, 9-4 Orioles. Thanks for keeping it close Bud. That would end Simon's night, he went five and two thirds, giving up two hits(TWO FREAKING HITS), and four runs, on three walks, and one strike out.
Former started Shane Greene would not be so lucky in the seventh. After a single, ground out, another single, and a strike out of Reimold, Adam Jones worked a nine pitch walk to load the bases for Davis. Brad Ausmus would then go to his bullpen again, this time left hander Blaine Hardy. Davis hit a single off of the Tigers' Hardy to make it 9-6 Tigers with two men still on base Wieters would follow it up with a single into left field scoring Jones from second to make it 9-7 Tigers. That would end the night for Blazing Blaine Hardy (nickname pending).
Next pitcher out of the Tigers bullpen would be Al Alburguerque to face J.J. Hardy and it wouldn't yet blow up in Ausmus' face as Alburquerque struck out Hardy looking. Al would work the eighth and promptly give up a hit to Schoop, then strike out Chris Parmelee looking on a hanging slider. The great DFA in the sky is awaiting you sir. But, Caleb Joseph worked a five pitch walk which brought Manny Machado to the plate and Ausmus to the mound again, this time bringing in Alex Wilson with one down.
Wilson threw a wild pitch allowing the runners to advance, on the next pitch Machado grounded out to shortstop which allowed the runner on third to score, 9-8 Tigers. With two down, Nolan Reimold stepped in with the tying run at third and also grounded out to shortstop. Inning over, lead down to one.
Props are due to the likes of Tommy Hunter and Darren O"day who combined to work three innings, gave up no hits, no runs, walked none, and struck out three. They kept the Tigers at nine runs which allowed the offense to work the team back into the game.
Wilson stayed in the game for the bottom of the ninth. He would quickly get Jones to ground out and Davis to strike out. To keep it interesting, Matt Wieters singled up the middle with two down to bring up J.J. Hardy. Hardy worked the count to 2-2, but on the sixth pitch he would ground out to shortstop. Game over, rally thwarted.
The Orioles move to 51-50 on the year with the non-waiver trade deadline waiting for them tomorrow.