After a day of speculation about who would be traded where and the impact on 2016, the 2015 Detroit Tigers got down to the business of playing a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles. The good news is, they look just about the same as they did before the deadline. The bad news is, they look just about the same as they did before the deadline. The pitching staff blew a six-run lead and the Tigers fell 8-7 in the end.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Rajai Davis led off with a double. Newly minted No. 2 hitter Jose Iglesias followed with a sharp single to left, putting runners at 1st and 3rd. Ian Kinsler hit a line drive off Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chin (literally!) that caromed into right field to plate Davis with the first run of the game.
Bottom of the first, Tiger starter Buck Farmer got off to a shaky start. He plunked lead-off hitter Manny Machado with the third pitch of the game. Adam Jones hit a single the opposite way to put runners at 1st and 3rd for Chris Davis. Farmer got Davis to strike out swinging and retired Matt Weiters on a one-hopper to Kinsler to end the threat.
Top of the second, James McCann singled to left after one out. Jefry Marte doubled down the left-field line to plate McCann, running aggressively all the way from first to put the Tigers up 2-0.
Top of the third, one out, Kinsler served a single into left field, his second hit of the game. With two out, J.D. Martinez got his power stroke back on, driving a pitch deep into left field to put the Tigers up 4-0.
Bottom of the third: With one out, Machado legged out a bunt single to the third base side. Jimmy Paredes followed with a ground ball single into right, putting runners at the corners and bringing up ever dangerous Adam Jones with only one out. Farmer was able to end the threat by inducing an inning ending double play started by Nick Castellanos.
Top of the fourth, James McCann lead off with a home run to dead center field -- remarkable for the fact that is was not a walk-off homer. Not to be outdone, Jefry Marte followed with a home run to deep left on the very next pitch putting the Tigers up 6-0. With one out, Davis poked a single into center field. That was enough for Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who came to get his starter after Chen gave up 6 runs on 10 hits in only 3 1/3 innings, Mike Wright came in to get the last two outs.
The Orioles scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth to get on the board. Matt Weiters lined a double off the wall in center field with one out. Ryan Flaherty hit a ground ball that fist baseman Jeffrey Marte could not handle (ruled an error) , scoring Weiters . Farmer induced a pop up to escape any further damage; the Tigers lead now cut to 6-1.
Bottom of the fifth, Machado reached for the third time with a one-out walk. Paredes followed with a single to right off Farmer (literally!) to put runners at the corners. Farmer tossed a couple of warm-up pitches to convince Brad Ausmus he was okay to stay in the game after that batted ball off of his leg. Apparently, he was not okay. Adam Jones took a 2-1 pitch over the left center field wall to bring the Orioles within two runs. That was enough for Ausmus, who brought in Ian Krol to face Chris Davis. Davis singled to right on an 0-2 pitch. Krol then proceeded to walk Weiters on four pitches. J. J. Hardy hit a ball off Krol (literally!) which Krol was able to run down behind the mound, but then threw wildly to first base, allowing Davis to score. Krol retired the next two hitters, but the Orioles ended up sending nine batters to the plate to make it a game again, scoring four runs and cutting the Tiger lead to 6-5.
The wheels started to come off for the Tigers in the bottom of the sixth David Lough led off the inning, drawing a four-pitch walk and ending Krol's outing. Jose Valdez, newly arrived from Toledo, came in to make his MLB debut and it was inauspicious. After falling behind 3-1 to Manny Machado, Valdez gave up a two-run shot into the left field bleachers to surrender the lead to Orioles, the Tigers now trailing 7-6. Valdez proceeded to walk Paredes, Adam Jones then blooped a fly ball into center field. Anthony Gose made a diving attempt on the ball but failed to make the catch, actually losing his glove in the process. Chris Davis followed with a sharp RBI single to right, giving the Orioles an 8-6 lead. Ausmus went to the bullpen again, bringing in Neftali Feliz to face Weiters, still no one out and runners at the corners. With Weiters batting, James McCann gunned down Davis on a standing steal attempt to get the first out. After striking out Weiters, Feliz was able to retire Hardy on a ground ball, ending the inning and limiting the damage; Tigers trailing 8-6.
The Tigers responded in the top of the seventh. Jose Iglesias led off the inning with a sharp single to right off new Orioles pitcher Chaz Roe. Ian Kinsler followed with a double into the right center field gap, but Iglesias was thrown out at home on a call that was reviewed and upheld. Victor Martinez plated Kinsler from third base with an RBI grounder, bringing the Tigers within one run. The Orioles went to the bullpen for Darren O'Day. J.D. Martinez drew a walk, but O'Day struck out Nick Castellanos to end the inning.
Neftali Feliz came back out in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order.
Bottom of the eighth, Bruce Rondon came on to pitch for the Tigers. He retired the side in order as well, making it eight batters in a row retired by the Tigers bullpen.
The Orioles brought in closer Zach Britton to face the Tigers in the top of the ninth. With one out, Ian Kinsler singled sharply to left field. Victor Martinez just evaded a game ending double play; Tyler Collins coming in to pinch run. But Britton was able to strike out J.D. Martinez to end the game.
Ian Kinsler had four hits.
Neftali Feliz pitched two perfect innings.
Jose Valdez: Welcome to major league baseball. Four batters faced; none retired; two runs allowed.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Jose Valdez made his MLB debut for the Tigers; he allowed all four batters he faced to reach base, allowing two runs. His ERA cannot be computed with 0 innings pitched.
- For the 4th time this season, the Tigers hit back-to-back home runs (McCann and Marte) per Fox Sports Detroit.
- Anthony Gose broke an 0-for-24 slump with a bloop opposite field double in the eighth inning.
- Neftali Feliz retired all five batters he faced.
- Pitchers Chen, Farmer, and Krol were all hit by batted balls.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: