On a warm Tuesday night at Camden Yards, the Orioles and Tigers put on a pitching duel. Matthew Boyd got the better of the O’s with six scoreless innings and despite the Tigers scratching across a run here and there, Dylan Bundy kept Baltimore in the game.
The Tigers got on the board in the first with a double and a single. They scored another run in the second on a single then a double. After that, Bundy was locked in for the third inning, getting two ground outs and a strikeout to retire the side in order. Despite being down 0-2, Bundy was showing good pitch efficiency (37) through three innings.
In his 2019 debut, DJ Stewart did was he does best: reach base. He had a sharply hit single through the shift and into right field in his first at-bat of the night. But he was stranded on first to end the second. The O’s right-fielder reached base again in the fourth on a hustle infield single, then stole second on the next pitch. But again, he was stranded.
The Tigers struck once more in the fifth when the home run monster reared its ugly head. But at least it was a solo shot. Niko Goodrum took Bundy deep to right field, the ball bouncing off the top of the groundskeepers’ shed and just out of the reach of Stewart.
The top of the seventh marked a personal milestone for Bundy when he struck out Grayson Greiner for his 500th career K. It was his eighth and final strikeout of the game. The next batter, JaCoby Jones, doubled on a bloop into left center and reached third base on a pickoff attempt by catcher Pedro Severino that ended up in center field. But Bundy escaped the jam by getting a pop-up from Goodrum to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Stewart got his third hit of the night with a single to center following a Severino walk. And it was that hit which drove Tigers starter Matthew Boyd from the game and brought on right-hander Buck Farmer.
Dwight Smith Jr. pinch-hit for Keon Broxton in order to get the lefty-righty matchup, but he struck out swinging on the fifth pitch of his at-bat. Stevie Wilkerson followed suit, going down swinging on six pitches.
Manager Brandon Hyde played the matchup game again with the next spot in the lineup, substituting left-handed hitting Rio Ruiz for Richie Martin. But Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire countered with lefty reliever Daniel Stumpf, who induced a pop-up from Ruiz to end the threat.
Boyd’s final pitching line was six innings, six hits, one walk and eight strikeouts on 96 pitches, including 66 strikes. He lowered his ERA to 2.85. Bundy’s night was over after seven innings and 89 pitches (64 strikes). He allowed three runs on seven hits — including one home run — with no walks and eight strikeouts.
Reliever Miguel Castro came on for the Birds in the eighth and worked around a leadoff double to retire the next three Tigers batters and bring the Orioles back to the plate.
Baltimore had another chance to get on the board in the eighth when reliever Joe Jimenez walked Villar with one out and hit Renato Nunez with two outs, putting a pair of runners on base. Then Jimenez struck out Severino on the ninth pitch of his at-bat to get the Tigers back into their dugout.
It looked like Detroit was going to tack on an insurance run or two in the ninth, but Castro was able to work out of trouble. He got wild for a bit — walking, and nearly hitting a couple batters — but was able to finish his second scoreless inning of the night.
Closer Shane Greene, who lead the AL in saves with 16 at the start of play, came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Tigers. The first batter, Stewart, worked the count full before striking out.
It was the first time all night he did not get on base. He finished 3-for-4 with a steal. Hopefully this was the first of many starts for Stewart and he’ll get ample playing time for the big league club moving forward.
Smith Jr. followed with a fly out to left and Wilkerson flied out to right, securing the shutout for Detroit. On the positive side, Dylan Bundy pitched well again for the Birds, continuing his May renaissance. DJ Stewart also impressed with a three-hit game, bringing his hot bat with him from Triple-A. But Detroit pitched and hit a little bit better in this one; just enough to get the win.
The Orioles will get back at it again tomorrow night, trying for a series win after splitting the first two games with the Tigers.