With the entire Detroit Tigers fanbase fixated on Daniel Norris for his team debut, the 22-year-old lefthander did not disappoint. Norris was as sharp as anyone could have hoped, leading the Tigers to a 6-1 win and a series split with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead before Norris even took the mound. After Anthony Gose hit a deep flyout on the first pitch of the game, Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler reached on a single and a walk, respectively. Victor Martinez flew out to the warning track, but J.D. Martinez followed up with a three-run homer to deep center field to put the Tigers on the board.
Daniel Norris set the Tigers Twitter-verse ablaze with a spotless first inning, setting the Orioles down in order. He struck out leadoff hitter Manny Machado on three pitches, then also fanned lefty Gerardo Parra after a six-pitch battle. Adam Jones grounded out to third to end the frame. Norris further endeared himself to the fanbase with a diving catch on a bunt attempt by J.J. Hardy in the second inning.
After another quick inning in the third, the Orioles finally got to Norris in the fourth. Norris left a 90 mile-per-hour fastball over the plate to Chris Davis, who launched a deep home run to right field for a solo home run, his 26th of the season.
The Tigers extended their lead in the fifth inning by taking advantage of some lackluster Orioles defense. Rajai Davis hit a blooper into shallow right field with two outs. As Davis was attempting to stretch the play into a double, Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop inadvertently tried to cut off the throw from the outfield, allowing Davis to scurry over to third. Gose followed with an RBI single, then stole both second and third base. Iglesias hit a liner to center field that was misplayed by Gold Glover Adam Jones, resulting in an RBI triple. Kinsler follower with an RBI single, ending Ubaldo Jimenez's day. Reliever Jorge Rondon put out the fire by retiring Victor Martinez on a lazy fly ball, but the Tigers ended the frame with a 6-1 lead.
The five-run lead would be plenty for Norris, who was on autopilot for most of the afternoon. After Davis' home run, Norris retired the next 12 batters he faced. He finished the afternoon with four strikeouts and just three hits allowed in 7 1/3 innings, and was pulled after allowing a seeing-eye base hit in the eighth.
Daniel Norris: What. A. Debut. The 22-year-old lefthander was incredibly sharp in his first start in a Tigers uniform, allowing just one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings. He only walked one and showed almost no sign of the command issues that many cited in scouting reports over the past few days. There will be speed bumps as he develops, but today was not one of them.
Four hits off Daniel Norris in 7.1: broken-bat 1B (Wieters), infield 1B (Schoop, misplayed by Castellanos), HR (Davis), 1B to left (Schoop).— Chris Iott (@Chris_Iott) August 2, 2015
Jose Iglesias: Iggy continued to batter Orioles pitching, adding two more hits and a pair of runs scored. He finished the season series with 12 hits in seven games.
J.D. Martinez: Dingers! J.D. added his 29th home run of the season in the top of the first, giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Seems like the knee he injured last night is feeling just fine. Either that, or he just wanted to jog around the bases.
Traded for prospects at the deadline.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- J.D. Martinez's home run in the first inning was his 29th of the season. This is a career-high for the 27-year-old outfielder. Martinez is the first Tigers outfielder to hit at least 29 home runs in a season since Curtis Granderson in 2009.
- Anthony Gose stole two bases in the fifth inning, his 15th and 16th of the season. He eclipsed his previous career-high of 15 stolen bases, which he accomplished in both 2012 and 2014.
- Ian Kinsler added two more hits to his ledger today, his 40th multi-hit game of the season. Kinsler has four multi-hit games in a row. He was 12-for-17 in the four-game series against the Orioles.
- Daniel Norris allowed one run on four hits in 7 1/3 innings, resulting in a Game Score of 70. This is a career-high, besting his 67 Game Score in a seven-inning outing against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 25.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: