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Orioles lose 5-2 to Tigers as Miguel Cabrera hits his 499th home run

The Orioles played run of the mill bad baseball today, as opposed to the unwatchable bad baseball they have been playing lately.

Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Orioles lost tonight’s game, which in some ways makes it similar to pretty much every other game they’ve played lately. But unlike the past six games, they didn’t give up at least nine runs. Does that really matter? Not really. But at least we can stop thinking about how pathetic it is to give up that many runs every night.

Another bonus of this game is that the relief pitchers didn’t look like a collective dumpster fire. Dusten Knight gave up two runs but also struck out three and retired five in a row. César Valdez pitched a scoreless inning, as did Dillon Tate. Tate especially looked very good tonight. It’s the small things, you know? Like not having to watch the bullpen give up a half dozen runs every single night.

But even without the embarrassing performances we’ve watched of late, it still wasn’t enough for the win. The offense couldn’t get going and starting pitcher Matt Harvey struggled, giving up three runs in five innings.

Harvey spent most of his time in the game playing with fire, but he didn’t get burned until the fifth. He worked out of bases loaded jams in both the first and third innings. In the first, he gave up two singles and walk but got a two-out ground out to get out of it.

In the third inning, he again gave up two singles and a walk (both the first and third innings featured singles by Miguel Cabrera, and he was just getting started). With one out, Erik Haase hit a ground ball to first. Trey Mancini fired home to get the runner, and Harvey struck out Harold Castro to get out of the jam.

Cabrera came up for his third at-bat of the game in the fifth inning with the game still scoreless. One swing later, it was no longer scoreless. He launched the 499th home run of his career into the bullpen. It was Cabrera’s 25th home run against the Orioles in his career and the 12th at Camden Yards. The only teams who have given up more home runs to Cabrera in his career are the four A.L. Central teams.

This was, however, the first home run that Cabrera has ever hit off of Matt Harvey. Harvey is the 345th pitcher to give up a dinger to the future Hall of Famer.

The Tigers weren’t done after the dinger, either. Jeimer Candelario doubled and then moved to third on yet another passed ball by Pedro Severino. Harvey walked Haase, and then for some reason Castro opted to bunt. Mancini made another good play, going home with the ball to get the second out.

It felt like the Orioles caught a break, but it was short lived as Niko Goodrum immediately hit a two-run double. Unfortunately Goodrum hurt himself and had to come out of the game with a strained groin. Feel better soon, Niko! Willi Castro grounded out to end the inning, but Harvey and the Orioles were in a 3-0 hole.

Replaced by Dusten Knight, things didn’t get much better. A single and a double put runners on second and third for Cabrera. Could he hit his 500th home run? Would he even want to? If he heads home to Detroit after this series, he’ll be playing in front of a packed house of his adoring fans. Surely it would be better to wait and hit the milestone home run there instead of on the road in front of 8,990 fans at Camden Yards, right?

Anyway, he hit a sacrifice fly. Schoop moved up to third and then came in to score on a wild pitch. It would have been tough for Severino to catch that ball (it was scored a wild pitch, after all), but I’ve gotten to the point where I get annoyed anytime a ball gets away from him. Adley! We need you!

Knight went on to pitch a 1-2-3 seventh inning and was replaced by Valdez, who faced only three batters thanks to another nifty play from Mancini. With one out, Victor Reyes singled to left field. Austin Hays made a poor throw back into the infield, with the ball ending up behind first base. Reyes tried to get to second but Mancini got to the ball and threw Reyes out at second. Nice!

But what about the O’s offense, Stacey? Well, there wasn’t much to speak up until late in the game. Tigers’ starter Tarik Skubal pitched six shutout innings so there wasn’t much excitement. In the third, he gave up an infield single to Cedric Mullins that was a combination of Mullins’s speed, Skubal’s failure to quickly cover first base, and Miguel Cabrera’s decision not to take the out himself. This is only noteworthy because it was Cedric’s only hit and it ran his hitting streak to 18 games.

The only inning in which Skubal allowed more than one baserunner was the sixth, when Mancini and Anthony Santander singled with two outs, but Ramón Urias grounded out. The Orioles also got two runners on in the seventh courtesy of a Ryan McKenna double and Richie Martin walk but again couldn’t capitalize.

Finally, in the 8th inning, the Orioles got on the board. With Hays one first and one out, Santander absolutely crushed a ball high into the night. It landed on Eutaw Street with room to spare, cutting Detroit’s lead to 5-2. Santander has really been on fire the past few games. He now has six Eutaw Street dingers, which ties him for second place all time with Luke Scott. The franchise leader is Chris Davis with 11.

Prior to Santander’s homer, Isaac Mattson was warming up. But with the score a bit closer, Brandon Hyde instead turned to Dillon Tate for the ninth inning. It was the right decision as Tate looked pretty filthy. He struck out Schoop, which brought Cabrera to the plate to see if he could hit home run #500. He didn’t even try, grounding out to second on the first pitch. Tate also struck out Candelario to end the inning.

The Tigers play one more game in Baltimore before going home to Detroit. If Cabrera is in the lineup, he’ll have four more chances to hit his milestone homer in Charm City. If not, I expect his hometown fans will be very happy to see him over the weekend.

With a three-run lead, the Tigers brought their closer, Gregory Soto, into the game. He throws hard! McKenna singled up the middle to lead off and with two outs Soto walked Mullins on four pitches. That made Austin Hays the tying run with two outs. Hays came into the game with a .906 OPS against lefties this year, but most lefties don’t pitch like Soto. Hays grounded out to third to end the game.

Orioles lose, 5-2. They made some noise late, but it just wasn’t enough. They have now lost seven games in a row and will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon. But hey, at least they didn’t give up nine runs.