DETROIT--In the beginning, it was a match made in heaven for the Detroit Tigers. The rain was no more, the birds were singing and the sun was on full display for a cloudless game as the Tigers took on a bird of a different kind.
The Baltimore Orioles had no excuses. They had a full night of sleep to prepare for today's game and got off to a quick start with a stolen base after the first batter was walked. The groans were well heard throughout Comerica under a sun-soaked yet chilly day.
Chris Davis brought David Lough home but Davis was out at second base when he tried to extend a single into a double. Rajai Davis threw a strong clothesline throw to Ian Kinsler for the quick delivery to deliver the out. That was all the Orioles scored for the remainder of the game even though Lough threatened with a triple in the eighth inning.
The Tigers made them pay dearly for that run in the third inning. Alex Gonzalez, Don Kelly and Ian Kinsler all hit consecutive singles to load the bases then Torii Hunter then hit a bases-clearing double to put the Tigers ahead 3-1.
The fifth inning also belonged to Hunter when he hit a 2-run home run rocket over the left field wall. By the time the seventh inning came around the only players who had not reached base were Alex Avila and Victor Martinez.
The sixth was equally impressive when Don Kelly tripled to bring Alex Gonzalez home followed by a sacrifice fly to center field by Rajai Davis wherein Kelly then scored. The eighth inning proved to be fruitless however when Hunter flew out to center fielder Adam Jones and left two men on bases.
Rick Porcello performed flawlessly after getting off to a bumpy start in the first inning. He pitched for 6.2 innings, allowed three hits, struck out three and allowed only the lone run in the first. He retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced and currently holds a 1.35 ERA. He became the first starting pitcher to be credited with a win for the season.
Evan Reed pitched 1.1 innings and allowed two hits while striking out one. Phil Coke came out to pitch the ninth inning for his 2014 debut. Chris Davis hit a single to Hunter then allowed two runs to score when Jones hit a triple to right center field to bring Davis home and Jones scored on a groundout by Nick Markakis.
Coke was replaced by Al Alburquerque but he struggled to get out the final two outs and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus finally brought in closer Joe Nathan to save the day. But it was not meant to be and a once easy 7-1 lead was reduced to a close 1-run game before Nathan got Chris Davis to fly out to left fielder Rajai Davis.
The Tigers had two stolen bases, one by Jackson and the other to Davis. They were the first stolen bases for both players. Hunter's triple and 2-run home run accounted for five of the runs for the Tigers. Five runners were left in scoring position.
Seven Tigers batters were walked while the Orioles had four. The Tigers had one error and the Orioles had none. The Tigers remain the only undefeated team in Major League Baseball but it was close, only because of the errors made in the closing staff.