Orioles 4, Tigers 2: Jim Leyland - "I botched it"

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

A series of unfortunate events, including some bad decision-making by Jim Leyland and the Tigers' offense going back into a shell, allowed to Orioles to win in comeback fashion.

The Baltimore Orioles scored four unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to beat the Tigers in come-from-behind fashion 4-2. In the post game, Tigers manager Jim Leyland took the blame for the loss, saying to "put it on me" for leaving his starting pitcher in too long and not having the the correct relievers ready to go.

Brian Matusz (2-0), the second of four Orioles relievers, vultured the win in relief of starter Kevin Gausman. Matusz allowed three hits and a run in his one inning of work. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth to record his 18th save.

Rick Porcello (2-3) suffered the loss, unable to get an out in the seventh after allowing just two hits over the first six innings. Porcello would ultimately be charged with three runs on six hits, striking out seven in six-plus innings.

Their offense going back into a shell, the Tigers did get two hits from Prince Fielder, who homered for the second straight game. Jhonny Peralta also had a pair of hits, driving in the Tigers' only other run.

The Orioles were led on offense by Chris Davis, who had a pair of hits, including his league-leading 20th home run of the season. They also got production off the bench, both Danny Valencia and Alexi Casilla coming through with RBI hits late in the game.

The game started as a pitcher's duel, and ended with Leyland calling himself out. In between were several blown chances for the Tigers to win the series.

Porcello and Gausman traded scoreless innings early on, each allowing just one hit over the first two frames. The Tigers were doing a good job of working the count, Gausman needing 42 pitches get his first six outs.

Torii Hunter made sure the game remained scoreless, robbing J.J. Hardy of extra bases with two out in the second. Racing to catch up with the fly ball, Hunter made an excellent leaping catch in front of the 373' mark in right field before crashing into the fence.

One out in the third, Ramon Santiago's looping liner to center dropped in front of Adam Jones. Unable to make the play, the ball rolled far enough away from Jones for Santiago to slide into second with a double. Unlike Saturday, the Tigers couldn't come through with a runner in scoring position, Avisail Garcia lining out to right, Andy Dirks striking out.

The Orioles countered the Tigers threat with one of their own in the bottom half of the second. Nate McLouth stole second (his 19th theft of the season) after grounding into fielder's choice for the second out of the inning. Battling back from a 3-0 count to full, Porcello couldn't close the deal and walked Manny Machado. But the Orioles couldn't come through with a two-out RBI hit, Nick Markakis bouncing out to first to allow Porcello to pitch out of trouble.

Hunter led off the fourth with his second hit of the game, beating out a bunt single. Miguel Cabrera eliminated Hunter off the base paths, bouncing into his second 6-4-3 double play in as many at bats. Just as it appeared Gausman would get out of the inning unscathed, Fielder crushed a 3-0 pitch, clearing the right field wall. The solo home run was Fielder's 11th home run of the season, and put the Tigers up 1-0. (MLB.com video)

Leading off the fifth, Peralta singled, advancing to second on a wild pitch. Alex Avila moving him over another 90 feet with a ground ball to second. The infield pulled in, Santiago couldn't get the ball in the air, bouncing to first for the second out. The Tigers in need of a two-out hit, Garcia grounded out to short to squander a runner-on-third, one-out opportunity.

Gausman had settled in, allowing just five hits through six, striking out four. The only real difference in the game was Porcello had kept the ball in the park, while Gausman served up a home run to Fielder. The Tigers clinging to a 1-0 lead, Porcello remained on a roll, tossing 1-2-3 fifth. At this point, Porcello had retired seven consecutive Orioles, having allowed just two hits, striking out six.

Porcello's consecutive out streak ended at nine, Markakis singling with two down in the sixth. But Porcello kept alive two other streaks, striking out Jones for the third straight at bat to end the inning, which made it 16 straight scoreless innings for the Tigers' fifth starter.

Buck Showalter pulled Gausman after six very good innings, replacing the his prize rookie with Matusz. Fielder led off the seventh, rudely greeting Matusz by doubling to left center. Victor Martinez advanced Fielder to third with a line drive single to left. Peralta didn't hit the ball hard, but he hit it in the right place. Matusz busted him on the fists, but Peralta got enough on the ball to drop a bloop RBI single into short right.

Then Jim Leyland ordered a ridiculous bunt which took the Tigers right out of a possible big inning.

Told to sacrifice with two of the Tigers slowest runners on base (and another at the plate), Avila laid down an extremely poor bunt which stopped dead in front of the plate. Catcher Chris Snyder was all over it, firing to third to start a rare 2-5-3 twin killing. Santiago flew out to end what could have been a game-breaking inning.

That's why you don't bunt.

After squandering what could have been a crooked-number inning, on cue Davis smoked a lead-off home run off a tiring Porcello. Davis went yard for a league-leading 20th time, pulling the Orioles to with a run at 2-1. After 16 innings, Porcello's scoreless streak was over. His afternoon would soon be as well.

The once-moribund crowd coming to life, Chris Dickerson singled to right. Finding Porcello suddenly extremely hittable, Hardy singled to right center, Dickerson racing to third.

Leyland came out to get the ball from Porcello, who was lights out for six innings but unable to get an out in the seventh. Phil Coke came on as the blown top of the seventh loomed larger and larger.

Forcing the issue with the left-handed Coke, Showalter used right-handed hitting Valencia to pinch hit for Ryan Flaherty. Leyland refused to counter, riding the left arm of Coke. Though there was some luck involved, Coke didn't get the right-hander out. Valencia dropped a perfectly placed 0-2 bloop over Santiago to drive in the game tying run.

Runners on first and second and no one out, Showalter proved managers are the same all over by asking his own catcher to give the Tigers a free out with a sacrifice bunt. Just like Avila, Snyder failed miserably. He bunted the ball directly back to Coke, who had plenty of time to get the force at third for the first out of the inning.

Coke badly needing a ground ball, he couldn't get it. He fell behind the left-hand hitting McLouth 3-2, who then muscled a broken bat single over second, the pinch-running Casilla racing home to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead.

Coke would finally get out of the inning after Machado popped out to short left and Markakis' line drive was hit directly at Dirks. But the damage had been done, the Orioles sending eight to the plate, scoring three runs on five hits to take a 3-2 lead. Since all of Coke's inherited runners scored, Porcello was charged with all three runs.

The Tigers couldn't counter in the top of the eighth, Don Kelly pinch-hitting (WHYWHYWHYWHY?) for Garcia and bouncing out. Dirks kept hope alive with a single, but Hunter bounced into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play, the Tigers' fourth of the day.

Darin Downs took over for Coke in the bottom half of the eighth. Downs stuck Jones with earned Golden Sombrero, striking him out to start the inning. With the shift on against Davis, Cabrera playing behind second, Downs made an awful pitch. Davis was able to poke a down and away breaking ball to left for an easy two-base hit.

Two down, the Tigers elected to intentionally walk Hardy with the .180 hitting Casilla on deck. It made perfect sense, as long as you execute.

The Tigers didn't.

Casilla hit a drive to left which should have ended the inning. But Dirks broke in on the ball, allowing it to sail over his head for an RBI double. The Orioles had extended their lead to 4-2 thanks to some bad execution (the pitch to Davis and Dirks misread) on the part of the Tigers.

Downs was pulled, on came Jose Ortega. He immediately loaded the bases, walking the .118 hitting Snyder on four pitches. Ortega would manage to end the inning on McLouth's come-backer.

Down 4-3, the Tigers would need to come back against the Orioles closer, Jim Johnson. Johnson has had issues of his own this season, blowing four saves, including three in a row at one point.

Things looked up, if only for a second, when Cabrera led off with a single. But Johnson retired the next three Tigers in order.

A blown game over.

Over the past week, the Tigers are playing in "Let's infuriate the fan base" mode. They are wasting some excellent starting pitching, while finding new ways to lose. Not helping matters is Leyland out-managing himself.

You can make an argument this loss can be pinned on the shoulders of the manager ... and I wouldn't argue with you.

Leyland won't argue the point. He agrees.

Leyland continually took the blame for the loss in his post-game interview, beating himself up, mostly for not pulling Porcello.

"I botched it"

"It cost us"

"Put it solely on me"

"Nobody's fault but my own."

Unfortunately, Leyland being Leyland, he'll make the same moves all over again. Then again, so does almost every other big league manager (as we saw with Showalter's bunt call). It's who they are.

For what it's worth, Porcello disagreed with Leyland.

"Skip doesn't play the game. it's on us."

The Tigers fall to 30-25 after a brutal 1-4 road trip. But at least there's a silver lining. The Tigers cling to their 1/2 game lead in the Central over the Indians, who also lost this afternoon.

A rough road trip in the books, the Tigers have a much-needed day off on Monday. Up next is the Tampa Bay Rays, who come to town for a three-game series starting 7:08 PM Tuesday night. Anibal Sanchez (5-5, 2.79 ERA) will get the start for the Tigers, while the Rays have yet to announce their rotation setup for the series.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

BULLETS:

Another game, another stolen base allowed by the Tigers.

Yes, the Tigers realize it's a problem.

Camden Yards was the MLB template for many of the newer stadiums being bandboxes. After Prince Fielder went deep in the fourth, it was the 13th home run the Tigers and Orioles had slugged in the series -- Five on Friday (two for the Tigers), seven on Saturday (Tigers clubbing five), making it a total of 14 in the three games with Chris Davis's seventh-inning home run.

Fielder had gone 20 games between home runs before going yard Saturday and Sunday.

Something you rarely see is a pitcher imposing their will on Miguel Cabrera. Today, Kevin Gausman owned Cabrera. In three at-bats, Cabrera bounced into a pair of double plays and struck out looking. Call it proof Cabrera is actually human and not literally a hitting machine.

I have a request for Jim Leyland. STOP WITH THE GOD DAMN BUNTING!

The Tigers are in a tight game, up 2-1 in the seventh. Seems like to a good time to have Drew Smyly ready to go...wait, what?

Leyland made another by the book, yet indefensible, decision to start the eighth, having .171 Don Kelly pinch hit for Garcia. Kelly bounced out to first. What a damn surprise.

I wholeheartedly agree. I have no issues as to how Leyland runs his clubhouse. But he continually puts some players in position to fail. Such as using Don Kelly out of his element or depending upon Phil Coke to get right-handed batters out.

THREE ROARS:

Rick Porcello: Another quality start wasted. But Porcello's inability to get an out in the seventh turned a great start into just an OK one.

Prince Fielder: Two hits, has now homered in two straight games.

Jhonny Peralta: Another two hits has Peralta hitting a very surprising .332 on the season.

THREE HISSES:

Jim Leyland: Had a brutal game. It started yesterday by burning up Smyly in a blowout, making him unavailable today.. It continued with a silly sacrifice bunt to kill a possible big inning, leaving Porcello in too long, using Coke against right-handed bats and Kelly as a pinch hitter. Today's loss is proof smart people can do dumb things.

The bullpen: Could not get a ground ball to save their lives. Phil Coke was victimized by some bad luck, but allowed both inherited runners to score. Darin Downs made a dumb pitch which ultimately cost the Tigers a run. Jose Ortega walked a .118 hitter on four pitches. Not a game for the highlight reel.

Miguel Cabrera: Bounced into a pair of double plays and added a strike out in a 1-for-4 afternoon.

ROLL CALL:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 881
Total commenters 41
Commenter list Allison Hagen, BadCompany22, BigAl, DJ Screw, Elfuego51, Flying J, Grand Rapids Howie, Grzesio, H2OPoloPunk, HookSlide, J(O's)elskIL, JWurm, Jacob30, Joaquin on Sunshine, Keith-Allen, Kurt Mensching, MSUDersh, Michigan&TrumbullinLA, Parisian Tiger, PatrioticMerkin, RationalSportsFan, SAchris, SabreRoseTiger, SanDiegoMick, Scarsdale_Vibe, ShowingBunt, Sneechin', SpartanHT, Thorpac, Tigerdog1, Verlanderful, ahtrap, dishnet34, dominator039, geopun, kland83, knucklescarbone, mrsunshine, scott_cunni, stevenyc, 13194013
Story URLs http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/6/2/4388598/game-55-tigers-at-orioles-1-35-p-m/in/4153005http://www.blessyouboys.com/2013/6/2/4389200/game-55-overflow-tigers-at-orioles

TOP TEN COMMENTERS:

# Commenter # Comments
1 Joaquin on Sunshine 119
2 SanDiegoMick 102
3 BadCompany22 88
4 HookSlide 64
5 H2OPoloPunk 59
6 SabreRoseTiger 41
7 stevenyc 37
8 Keith-Allen 36
9 mrsunshine 31
10 Jacob30 31

TOP RECS:

# Recs Commenter Comment Link
4 Joaquin on Sunshine I will conclude with a rap.
2 stevenyc I predict someone will question that bunt.
2 scott_cunni Sure am glad Smokey used Smyley yesterday in that situation
2 Joaquin on Sunshine I'm a cage rattler

GAME 54 PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Miguel Cabrera's grand slam carried him to victory in the PotG poll with 78% of the vote.

More Roars:

Monday’s links

GIF of the day: Torii Hunter dupes the umpire

Patrick: Tigers should scrap the closer role

Patrick: Do the Tigers have the league’s best offense?

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