In a game twice delayed by rain, the Detroit Tigers knocked Baltimore Orioles pitching around to the tune of 17 hits, pulling away to win 10-4. The Tigers broke open a close game with three home runs, including Miguel Cabrera's first of the season. Cabrera's homer was also the 2000th hit of his career. The victory keeps Tigers undefeated to start the season, raising their record to 3-0. The Orioles fall to 1-3.
Anibal Sanchez pitched the first four innings for the Tigers, allowing two runs on two hits, walking three, striking out three. After a 35 minute rain delay ended Sanchez's day, Drew Smyly took over for three scoreless innings, enough to earn him the win. Smyly gave up just one hit, walking one, striking out three. Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain pitched the final two innings.
The Tigers raked Orioles' starter and loser Miguel Gonzalez for seven runs on nine hits, two of those home runs. Reliever Josh Stinson was charged with a run and and four hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Ryan Webb was also victimized by the tigers, allowing two runs and four hits over 1 2/3 innings.
The Tigers' offense was led by none other than the mighty Cabrera. His bat woke up with three singles, a long home run and and three RBIs. Also homering was Rajai Davis, who broke a close game wide open with a three run bomb coming out of a fourth inning rain delay. Torii Hunter added a solo shot in a three hit afternoon. Ian Kinsler continued to win the trade with two hits out of the lead off slot, driving in a run and scoring another. Rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos also impressed with two hits and an RBI.
Chris Davis' two RBI double in the first inning would account for all of the Orioles' scoring when the outcome was still in doubt. Steve Clevenger and Jonathan Schoop each had a ninth inning RBI after the game was already in the Tigers' hip pocket.
Hey, they can't all be walk-offs. But 162-0 is still on the table.
Like Max Scherzer on Wednesday, Anibal Sanchez got into a first inning jam. Unlike Scherzer, Sanchez was unable to get out of the opening inning unscathed.
With one out, David Lough singled and stole second. Adam Jones took a borderline 3-2 breaking ball, and got the call and a free pass. Slugging Orioles first baseman Chris Davis proceeded to clear the bases by doubling into the right-field corner.
Sanchez would get the next two outs, stranding Davis at third, but the Orioles were up 2-0 after 1/2 inning. Sanchez worked hard, needing 26 pitches to end the inning.
Bottom of the second, Austin Jackson extended his extra base hit streak to three games, doubling into the right-field corner to give the Tigers their first threat against Miguel Gonzalez. Alex Avila continued his solid start at the plate, drawing a base on balls (his fourth in three games) after narrowly missing an RBI double when his liner to to left was inches foul.
Nick Castellanos pulled the Tigers within a run with his first career RBI. In a nice at bat. Castellanos' inside-out swing on an inside fastball resulted in a line drive into the right-field corner, Jackson crossing the plate to make it a 2-1 game, Avila holding up at third (MLB.com video).
Making his first start as a Tiger, Andrew Romine made Gonzalez work in a nine pitch at bat. Yet he couldn't drive in the tying run, striking out on a 3-2 pitch well out of the zone. But the Orioles' starter compounded matters for himself by hitting Rajai Davis, loading the bases for Ian Kinsler.
Kinsler came through with ducks on the pond, winning the trade again by smashing an RBI single to center, knotting the game at 2-all (MLB.com video). But Castellanos made a rookie mistake, making the turn at third with his head down, not catching third base coach Dave Clark's stop sign. By the time Castellanos stopped, Gonzalez had cut the throw off, easily nailing the rookie trying to scramble back to the bag for the second out and a TOOTBLAN.
At this point, #Tigers Nick Castellanos is the opposite of Willie Mays Hayes. Cue Lou Brown: "You may hit like Mays, but you run like s***."— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) April 4, 2014
After nailing Torii Hunter with a fastball to the hands, Gonzalez uncorked a wild pitch with Miguel Cabrera at the plate, allowing Davis to score. Cabrera flew out to end the threat, but the Tigers had scored three runs on three hits, two hit batsmen, and a wild pitch, leading 3-2 after two full innings.
In the meantime, Sanchez has settled in nicely, pitching like the reigning 2013 AL ERA leader after his rough opening inning. Since Davis' one out double in the first, Sanchez retied the next eight Orioles in order, striking out a pair.
welcome back, Anibal!— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 4, 2014
Sanchez pitched himself into and out of a fourth inning jam, thanks to the dreaded base on balls. He pitched around Davis, issuing a four pitch free pass. Nelson Cruz made it two on and no one out, working a full count before walking. As the rain returned, Sanchez bore down and got out of trouble on a fielder's choice (Castellanos tagging a runner headed to third on a ground ball which had 5-4-3 double play written all over it), a pop up to short center and his third K of the afternoon.
Castellanos looked extremely impressive in his next at bat, leading off the bottom half of the fourth with a line drive single to left. Romine followed with a perfect bunt for a base hit, setting up Davis with an RBI opportunity.
At that point, the rain had increased to the point where the umpires called for the grounds crew. Apparently Mother Nature doesn't approve of April in the D.
It’s a shame about rain — The Lemonheads, maybe.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 4, 2014
Due to rain and a pitch count of 69, odds were good Sanchez's day was over.
After a 35 minute delay, the game resumed with Gonzalez still on mound. Drew Smyly, who thanks to postponements and days off may not make his first start for two weeks, was warming up in the bullpen.
Davis hammered Gonzalez's 1-2 breaking ball, golfing a shin high breaking ball down the left field line, just clearing the wall at the 345 mark (MLB.com video). The three run big fly was Davis' first of the season, the Tigers extending their lead to 6-2.
Scratch that, make it 7-2. Gonzalez served up a second gopher ball,Torii Hunter jumping all over the same type pitch Davis did. Hunter's first hit of the young season was a long blast to left which cleared the bullpens, a solo shot increasing the Tigers' lead to four runs and ending Gonzalez's soggy afternoon (MLB.com video).
Right-hander Josh Stinson got the call for the Orioles. He was rudely greeted by Cabrera with a single to center, the Tigers' tenth hit of the day. He was erased on a fielder's choice off the bat of Victor Martinez. With Jackson at the plate, the Tigers continued to be aggressive, Martinez pulling off a delayed steal to move into scoring position. That's as far as he would advance, Jackson flying out to end the inning.
The Tigers sent eight to the plate in a rain extended fourth, scoring four runs on five hits, two of those home runs.
Smyly did take the mound, replacing Sanchez to start the fifth. After Steve Lombardozzi's bloop dropped in front of Hunter for a single, Nick Markakis sent a tailor-made double play ball to Kinsler. But Romine dropped the ball on the exchange, Lombardozzi was called safe. Replays showed Romine had full control of the ball, making a clean catch before the drop on the throw. Brad Ausmus correctly called for an appeal on what should have an a no-brainer overturning the call.
Unfortunately, the human element is still involved. For some unfathomable reason, the replay crew in New York refused to overturn the call, everyone was safe.
I am using an asterisks on Brad Ausmus’ replay record the rest of the year. Ausmus: 2-1*— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 4, 2014
Smyly found himself in a two on, no out jam with the meat of the Orioles order due up.
Lough popped up to short left for the first out. Hunter ran down Adam Davis' drive to deep right for the second out. Smyly went to a full count on the dangerous Davis. But Smyly got the call on a slow bender which caught black, Davis punched out to end the threat.
After Smyly tossed a scoreless top of the sixth, the Tigers' offense continued to pound O's pitching. Kinsler and Hunter led off the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back singles, Cabrera making it an 8-2 game with a single to left for his first RBI of the season (MLB.com video).
Smyly was rolling by the seventh, recording his first 1-2-3 frame, his third scoreless inning. Top of eight and the Tigers still up by six runs, newcomer Ian Krol took over for Smyly. The young lefty hit 93 on the radar as he retired the O's in order.
Facing Ryan Webb in the bottom of the eighth, Cabrera made it a true blowout by lining a two run home run into the seats in left. It was his fourth hit of the day and 2000th of his career, increasing the Tigers' lead to an all but insurmountable 10-2.
After singles by Martinez and Jackson, O's manager Buck Showalter was forced to bring in his closer, Tommy Hunter, to get out of further trouble.
Top of nine and the Tigers up by eight, Joba Chamberlain made his first regular season appearance for the Tigers. It did not go well.
Chamberlain was fooling anyone, allowing a two runs on three straight hits before getting an out. So much for Joba Chamberlain, setup man. He's on the fast track to same doghouse Phil Coke resides in.
A single by Lombardozzi got the bullpen up and brought out pitching coach Jeff Jones, which seemed to settle the bearded reliever down. Chamberlain got the final two outs, a long, wet afternoon afternoon finally coming to an end.
GAME OVER. Tigers top the Orioles 10-4.
Ausmus making it look easy RT @MelissaHeyboer: Tigers win! 3-0 to start the season.— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) April 4, 2014
Game two of the series features a pair of right-handed starters making their first appearances of the 2014 season, the Orioles' Bud Norris (10-12, 4.18 ERA, his 2013 split between the Astros and Orioles) taking on Rick Porcello (13-8, 4.32 ERA in 2013). Saturday's first pitch is set for 1:08 P.M.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Before today's game, in a short ceremony in front of a small, weather delayed crowd, Miguel Cabrera received his MVP Award and Silver Slugger, Torii Hunter got his Silver Slugger, and Max Scherzer collected his Cy Young.
Something which hasn't changed from last season is the opposition running at will against Tigers' pitching. David Lough's first inning steal was the third stolen base the Tigers have given up this season.
Sanchez was consistently 1.5 to the plate last inning. Awful tough for Avila to toss someone out if he's that slow to the plate.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) April 4, 2014
Meanwhile, in Boston...
Brad Ausmus made it a point to be aggressive on the base paths this season. Unfortunately, his team has been far too aggressive, to the point of carelessness. Before the game was three innings old, the Tigers had a pair of TOOTBLANs. Second inning, Nick Castellanos was thrown out at third after not paying attention to his third base coach. The following inning, Austin Jackson led off with a single to left, but was thrown out by Lough trying to stretch the hit into a double. Four Tigers have been thrown out on the bases in just three games.
Rajai Davis defied his L/R splits, taking the right-handed Miguel Gonzalez yard in the fourth. Hey, it happens.
Rajai Davis has 8 bombs in 550+ PA the last two years vs RHP. So, I am surprised.— TigersProspectReport (@TigersProspects) April 4, 2014
Victor Martinez's stolen base in the fourth was just the fifth of his career, and first since July 1, 2011.
Ausmus lost a replay appeal for the first time this season in the fifth inning, proving MLB's system still has the same issues as the NFL's. Sometimes obvious calls are not overturned, for ridiculous reasoning. In this case, the umpires in New York ruled the runner was safe because "the transfer was involuntary." What in the HELL does that mean?
I swear I call safe pic.twitter.com/Ts7uy85VVA— Ty Collin (@GuyBehindTy) April 4, 2014
Dave Hogg of the AP had an MLB source clear things up somewhat, telling him, "Romine 'involuntarily released' the ball, therefore the runner is safe." Still doesn't make sense, much like a call Detroit Lions fans still shake their heads over.
He didn't complete the process or something. Wait, no, that's the NFL. Nevermind.— Melissa Heyboer (@MelissaHeyboer) April 4, 2014
Romine showed off his defensive ability in the eighth, robbing pinch-hitter Steve Pearce of a base hit. He went deep into the hole on a ground ball, made a backhand grab, then threw a rocket to first to nip Pearce. It was an extremely impressive play, definitely one Alex Gonzalez wouldn't have made.
Miguel Cabrera made more history, joining the 2000 hit club.
The other eight are all-time greats: Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Hank Aaron, Joe Medwick, Jimmie Foxx, Robin Yount and Alex Rodriguez. The first seven are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. A-Rod's fate is yet to be determined.
Cabrera is in even more rarefied territory when you bring power stats in the equation.
Miguel Cabrera is 5th player in MLB history with 2,000 hits, 300 HR and 1,200 RBI in his first 12 seasons.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 4, 2014
Ian Kinsler: Two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Kinsler's hitting .357 with two runs scored and four RBI out of the lead off spot.
Rajai Davis: His three run bomb in the foruth broke open what had been a close game.
Miguel Cabrera: His 24th four hit game since 2007, the most in MLB.
Torii Hunter: Reaching base four times while going 3-for-4 with a home run will get you a ROAR.
Drew Smyly: Working in the same role he was in for most of 2013, Smyly tossed three scoreless innings, getting better as he went on.
Instant replay: Still scratching my head over the Romine call. I expect it won't the last time I'm left wondering "WTF were they looking at?" by the umpires in New York.
Base running: A pair of TOOBLANs. Tigers need to pick their spots a little better.
Joba Chamberlain: Was hit hard and often in a garbage time assignment, giving up two runs on four hits.
TOP TEN COMMENTERS:
|# Recs||Commenter||Comment Link|
|7||NCDee||Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1984!|
|5||GhostOfBigRed||They're just a bunch of WILDCARDS!|
|3||NCDee||Challenge the rain delay, Brad!|
GAME TWO PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Ian Kinsler both walked off and walked away with the player of the game balloting with 70% of the vote, topping Max Scherzer and instant replay.