The roles were reversed in Baltimore on Sunday as the Tigers used three home runs and a lock-down bullpen performance to beat the Orioles 6-5. The loss for the Birds ends their winning streak at seven. For the Tigers, it brings an end to a four-game skid.
The Goose got hit
From the very beginning, it was clear that Kevin Gausman did not bring his best stuff to the mound. The Orioles starter routinely pitches with a fastball in the mid-to-upper-90s. Today, in the brisk Baltimore conditions, he was sitting around 92 mph with good 'ol number one.
That lower velocity and his struggle to really snap off that new-fangled slurve of his were a mixture for disaster that had his outing resembling something we are more akin to seeing from Ubaldo Jimenez. Over five innings pitched, Gausman allowed four runs on 10 hits, two walks and just one measly strikeout. It really could have been much worse. Detroit failed to get the big hit against him, leaving one runner on in the first inning, three on in the second, three on in the third, and one on in the fifth.
A back and forth game
The Tigers did pounce out to an early lead. Oriole-killer Ian Kinsler led off the game with a double down the third base line. After a J.D. Martinez line out, Miguel Cabrera drove in Kinsler from second base with a single to left field to give the visitors a 1-0 advantage.
But as they have in the rest of the series, the Birds came back. This time it was 23-year-old rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer who was the victim. Joey Rickard led off with a single. A batter later, Adam Jones doubled to left-field to drive in Rickard and tie the game. Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo worked back-to-back walks to load the bases for last night's hero, Jonathan Schoop. The second baseman came through again, singling to left field to score Jones and Davis and make it a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the second inning, Detroit began their comeback. Justin Upton led off with a single and then rookie Steven Moya drove him in with a triple to make it 3-2. Two innings later, Kinsler led off the inning with a solo home run to left field to knot things up at three runs apiece.
The next inning, the Tigers needed a little fortune to go back in front. Upton sent a high fly ball to right field, where Rickard waited for it. But it was a rare sunny day in Charm City and the O's outfielder lost it in the high sky. Center fielder Adam Jones seemed to realize the problem, but was unable to make his way over before the ball hit the ground and Upton slid into second with a lucky double. Two batters later, James McCann singled in Upton, giving Detroit a 4-3 lead.
But Manny Machado would not go quietly into the night, which will be filled with a charity bowling event. In the bottom of the fifth, Caleb Joseph reached on a fielding error by shortstop Mike Aviles. Following a Rickard strikeout, Machado took a 95 mph fastball and deposited it into the right field stands. Well, technically it hit the roof of the groundskeeping shed, but you get the idea. Whatever the case, the O's now regained the lead with a 5-4 advantage.
Now it was up to the bullpens. O's vs. Tigers. The Birds have this one in the bag...right?
Mychal Givens came out of the 'pen first and performed well. Manager Buck Showalter stretched him a bit, but it worked. Over two innings, Givens struck out three and allowed one hit, tossing two zeros up on the board. He did allow runners to second and third in the seventh, but ultimately struck out McCann to end the threat.
Instead, it was the ever-steady Darren O'Day who coughed up the lead. It's something that doesn't happen much, especially not via the home run ball, but that is the unfortunate situation we were presented with on Sunday afternoon.
After striking out both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kinsler to begin the eighth inning, the submariner had Martinez on the ropes with a 2-2 count. He tossed in one of those swooping sliders that goes right across the strike zone and dives away from right handers and got Martinez to chase it with a check swing that looks as though he may have just barely gone too far. The only problem is that first base umpire Mark Wegner didn't think so. Uh oh...
The next pitch, Martinez smacked an 87 mph fastball to center field. Jones gave chase, but it was gone. The game was now tied 5-5. Miguel Cabrera now walked to the plate. *gulp* First pitch: bang. It was a liner that got out in a hurry to left field. The always-reliable O'Day had given up not only the lead, but allowed the Tigers to pull ahead.
Both Showalter and Gausman were adamant after the game that Martinez had swung at the O'Day pitch. Showalter hinted to hoping that replay will be relied on for that call in the future. Gausman flat out called it "obvious", saying that he watched it on TV. Somebody owes somebody else an apology!
The Tigers bullpen was actually good?
It sounds like a joke, but the Detroit bullpen completely shut down the Oriole offense. After the starter Fulmer allowed five runs on five hits, three walks and six strikeouts over 4.1 innings, the relief arms took over.
Australian rookie Warwick Saupoid (yes, that is his real name) tossed 2.2 scoreless frames to get the win, pitching around two walks and two hits by striking out four. Alex Wilson backed him with a perfect eighth inning to get a hold. And then former Bird Francisco Rodriguez had a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish things up.
-This loss is only the second time this season that the Orioles have lost when leading after seven innings.
-37,890 attendance today. Pretty good for a cold, Sunday afternoon.
-This was the first time in his career that O'Day gave up back-to-back home runs.
-The 10 hits allowed by Gausman were the most of his career.
-Brian Roberts did the color commentary on MASN today, and it was actually pretty good. Much better than Mike Bordick in my opinion. Sign him up long-term!
-Dylan Bundy also made an appearance, throwing the final 1.1 innings. He was perfect and had two strikeouts.
-This game took 3 hours and 38 minutes to complete. Holy crap!
The Orioles are off tomorrow. Then they welcome the first-place Seattle Mariners to Camden Yards on Tuesday for a three-game set. The O's will send Ubaldo Jimenez (2-3, 4.87 ERA) to the mound. The M's will counter with southpaw Wade Miley (3-2, 4.91). Let's start another seven-game streak. See ya at the Yard!