For the second straight game, the Baltimore Orioles rode the home run ball to a win over the Detroit Tigers. Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden both took Rick Porcello deep as part of a six run fourth inning, paving the way for a 11-3 blowout victory.
Winning pitcher Chris Tillman (8-2) pitched into the sixth, allowing three runs on seven hits. Pitching six full innings, Porcello (4-4) took the loss for the Tigers. All six runs and seven of the nine hits he allowed were bunched together in just one inning, the fourth. Three Tigers' relievers were pounded for seven runs and eight hits over the final three innings, Jose Valverde raked for four runs and five hits in a brutal ninth.
The powerful Orioles went yard six times in the three game series, three homers coming this afternoon. Davis went deep twice (adding a second two run shot in the ninth), for his league leading 25th and 26th home runs of the season. Davis ended his huge day with three hits and five RBIs. Teagarden hit his first home run of season, accounting for three RBIs on the afternoon. Adam Jones added two hits and three RBIs.
Matt Tuiasosopo supplied the majority of the Tigers' offense with a sixth inning pinch hit double, driving in two runs. Omar Infante added an RBI double.
Just as on Tuesday night, a bad outing by the Tigers' starting pitcher and little offense equated to a DOOM-filled afternoon for the Tigers. As for Valverde's awful ninth? DOOOOOOOOM.
The Tigers had two hits and walk in the bottom of the first, yet failed to score, let alone fail to reach third base.
Austin Jackson led off with a single. For some unfathomable reason, Jim Leyland proceeded to call for a hit and run with Andy Dirks. Dirks is in a massive slump, hitting .208/.240/.208 for June. Keep in mind Jackson isn't known as a threat on the bases, despite his speed. The hit and run went down as you would expect - miss and caught stealing. Dirks failed to get his bat on the ball, Teagarden easily threw Jackson out.
After Dirks popped up for the second out, Miguel Cabrera singled, Prince Fielder drew a walk. But Tillman pitched out of trouble by striking out Victor Martinez.
The Tigers threatened again in the second, but failed to convert. Smoking hot Don Kelly (hitting .467 in June) singled with one down, Brian Holoday doing the same with two out. But the Orioles' defense came to the fore, robbing the Tigers of a run. Jackson ripped a sinking line drive to left, but Nate McLouth made a nice sliding catch to away take an RBI single and end the inning.
While the Tigers were stranding runners, Porcello was doing the same to the Orioles through three innings. The score tied at 0-0, Davis quickly changed matters in the fourth. Nick Markakis on base with a lead off single, Davis lifted what looked like a lazy fly ball to left. But the fly kept carrying, finally landing in the Tigers' bullpen for a two-run home run. Davis' 23th big fly was his league leading 25th of the season.
A bad inning proceeded to get far, far worse.
J.J. Hardy, Verlander Killer, followed up Davis' home run with a single. After Hardy stole second base, a two out Twins hit kept the inning alive. Ryan Flaherty hit a dribbler toward third, Cabrera's only play was try and tag out Hardy at third, who narrowly beat the tag.
The two out infield single would prove absolutely killer, as it set up four more runs.
Runners on the corners, Porcello served up a belt high meatball to .042 hitting Teagarden. The light hitting backup catcher would deposit a no-doubt three run dagger into the left field bullpen. The second Earl Weaver Special in as many days for the Orioles put them up 5-0.
The home run was Teagarden's first of the season. Coming into today, Teagarden had just two home runs over the past three seasons. Giving up a home run to Davis one thing, but Teagarden? Ugh.
The Orioles tacked on their sixth run of the inning on a McLouth double and Manny Machado single. By the time Porcello got the final out of the inning, he had allowed seven hits, two homers and six runs.
The Tigers managed to get one of the runs back in the bottom of the fourth on doubles by Perlata and Omar Infante cut the Orioles' lead to 6-1. There would be no crooked number inning on tap, Infante would be left stranded thanks back-to-back ground outs by Jackson and Holaday, ending the inning.
Porcello remained in the game, the fourth innings a painful aberration, retiring the Orioles in order in the fifth and sixth innings.
The Tigers would get two more runs back in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to Matt "All he does when he plays is hit" Tuiasosopo.
Tillman allowed the first two batters he faced in the inning to reach, Martinez via a single, Peralta with a base on balls. Orioles skipper Buck Showlater pulled the plug on Tillman, calling on rookie Rule 5 lefty T.J. McFarland. Jim Leyland countered by pinch hitting Tuiasosopo for Donnie Baseball. Leyland wins the strategy battle, Tuiasosopo drilling a McFarland fastball into the left center gap for a two RBI double, pulling the Tigers within three runs at 6-3.
Infante followed Tuiasosopo with ground ball up the middle, Hardy making a risky play which paid off by retiring the lead runner. Rather than throw to first, Hardy fired to third, Machado slapping the tag on a sliding Tuiasosopo for the first out of the sixth. That play may have saved a run, taking a sacrifice fly out of play. Holaday then flew out to left for the second out. The rally died a slow death when Jackson struck out to end the inning.
Darin Downs, who has made two appearances since his Amber Alert was called off, started the seventh, taking over for Porcello. He allowed the first two Orioles he faced to reach, McLouth greeting Downs with a double, Machado drawing a walk. After Downs struck out Markakis, Leyland made a beeline for the mound, calling on Evan Reed to face Adam Jones.
The Orioles immediately pulled off a double steal, both runners advancing into scoring position. The aggressiveness would pay off in spades, or more correctly, runs. The Tigers were forced to play their infield, but it didn't make a difference. Adam Jones reached for an outside breaking ball, slapping a high chopper over the mound. Infante was unable to corral the ball, and likely wouldn't have had a play, anyway. The Twins Hit pushed the Orioles lead to 7-3.
Davis continued to punish Tigers' pitching, yanking an RBI ground rule double into the right field corner. The score 8-3 and runners on second and third, Hardy drove in the third Orioles' run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center.
When the dust had settled in the seventh inning,. the Orioles had scored three runs on three hits, a sacrifice fly, a double steal and a walk, taking an all but insurmountable 9-3 lead.
Reed would strike out the side in the eighth, but the game was already well out of hand. Being the game was out of hand, no better time to continue the Jose Valverde experiment in the ninth inning.
Unfortunately, there was an explosion in the lab.
The Orioles treated the ninth as if Valverde was tossing batting practice: Machado single, Markakis single, Jones two RBI double, Davis two run home run.
The score 13-3, Valverde finally retired someone, Hardy bouncing out to the tune of a huge Bronx cheer from what was left of the Comerica Park crowd. Valverde finally retired the side after allowing four runs on five hits. It was all over but the crying, anyway.
The game mercifully ended when ancient Freddy Garcia struck out Fielder with two runners on base.
A miserable game over, the Orioles take two of three from the Tigers.
The Orioles badly outplayed the Tigers in every phase of the game over the last two games. When the offense, defense, starting pitching and bullpen all go south, the last two games is what you get in result.
The Tigers' second consecutive loss drops their record to 38-30, their lead in the Central falling to four games over the Tribe. Having split the first two games, taking turns holding second place, the Royals and Indians wrap up their series tonight.
After dropping 2-of-3 to the Orioles, the Tigers will try to bounce back against the first place Boston Red Sox in a four game weekend series. The Red Sox send right-hander John Lackey (4-5, 3.08 ERA) to the mound, who has five quality starts in his last six appearances.
The Tigers counter with rookie lefty Jose Alverez (1-0, 1.50 ERA), who was called up after today's game. Replacing Anibal Sanchez in a spot start on June 9, Alvarez was great, no-hitting the Indians for 4 2/3 innings. The rookie ultimately allowed just one run over six innings to pick up the win. With Sanchez now on the DL, Alvarez will be making his second spot start for the Tigers in less than two weeks. First pitch is 7:08 PM.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:
Tiger Suit Guy is in attendance!
Tigersuit guy Trevorbomb!! pic.twitter.com/28qfA2ZRht— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) June 19, 2013
Meanwhile, in the Orioles broadcast booth:
According to Orioles announcers, Hole-a-day is subbing in for Alex Aviles.
Breaking news - stop hitting the ball to Manny Machado: The Orioles' prize rookie did it again, taking a base hit away with his glove for the second straight game. Machado robbed Jhonny Peralta of a single in the second, diving to his left, fully laying out to grab a ground ball which was heading into left, then firing to first for the out.
The Rod Allen quote of the day is more ridiculous than usual, even for the always prone for hyperbole color man:
"Jhonny Peralta is looking to win a Gold Glove." Oh OK.— Melissa Heyboer (@MelissaHeyboer) June 19, 2013
Brian Holaday's second inning single was his first big league hit in over a calender year. Holaday had two hits in a 12-4 loss to the Rockies way back on June 15, 2012.
After the Orioles had a six run fourth inning, the mood of the Tigers fan base turned ugly.
@DNR_Rogo BEAT HIM WITH DIRKS— Tokarz (@tokarzontigers) June 19, 2013
The six runs allowed by Rick Porcello in the fourth was his worst since the "Death by papercuts" nine run first inning debacle in Anaheim on April 20. Porcello may have been overdue for a bad outing (he's posted a 2.84 ERA in the nine starts since the infamous Angels loss), but coming in a start immediately following Justin Verlander getting hit hard feels like piling on.
Mario Impemba foreshadowing of the game:
"T.J. McFarland has allowed eight of 14 inherited runners to score."
Matt Tuiasosopo immediately doubled in the two runners McFarland inherited. As a pinch hitter, Tuiasosopo is now hitting .300 with six RBIs.
This just in: Freddy Garcia is still in major leagues.
For those of you hoping it would be Valverde getting DFA'd to make room for Jose Alverez, you will be sorely disappointed to hear Avisail Garcia will be sent down to make room on the roster. According to the beat writers, the Tigers had no other moves to announce. So you'll still have the Big Patato to kick around for the time being.
Leyland on Porcello, saying a sinker ball pitcher needs to overcome infield hits, in this case Ryan Flaherty's:
"He lost his composure momentarily, and it cost him."
Leyland on Valverde:
"He hadn't pitched in three days, so it was an opportunity as we felt he needed to pitch today, no matter what. He threw one good split and a bunch of them that weren't too good."
"It didn't work out too good for him today."
This Leyland quote about Valverde won't go over well:
"I'm not going to panic after coming into a game that was 9 to 3"
The skipper also knew why the Tigers lost the last two games:
Matt Tuiasosopo: A pinch hit two RBI double has Tuiasosopo hitting a mean .338 on the season. There's two arguments to be made with Tuiasosopo. You can legitimately argue he needs to play more, because all he does is hit when he does get in the lineup. On the flip, you could claim Big Squiggles is being used correctly. Thanks to Leyland carefully picking his spots, Tuiasosopo has never hit better in his life. If he plays more, he could get exposed.
Omar Infante: An RBI double gets a ROAR.
Austin Jackson: With two hits today, Jackson's batting average is .417 since coming off the DL.
@BigAlBYB Leyland gets a roar for using Valverde properly today: showcase for DFA.— BYB Rob (@Detroit4lyfeRob) June 19, 2013
Rick Porcello: One bad inning trumps five good ones.
Jose Valverde: His ERA is so bad (now at 5.59), reports on Twitter claimed the Tigers removed it from the scoreboard. Can we now declare the Big Potato experiment a failure and move on to the Bruce Rondon Experience? Not that either will happen anytime soon, but a man can dream.
The Tigers' offense: Scattered 11 hits, but stranded ten runners for the second straight game.
The Tigers' bullpen: Any chance at a comeback went out the window by allowing seven runs in three innings.
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Goes to the trio of Darin Downs, Luke Putkonen and Phil Coke, who combined to shutout the Orioles over the final four innings.