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Orioles 7, Tigers 5: The Tigers' bullpen blues are back

Alex Wilson and Justin Wilson teamed up to allow five runs on six hits in the seventh inning, spoiling a strong performance by Mike Pelfrey in the series opener at Baltimore.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Starter Mike Pelfrey worked 5 1/3 strong innings in perhaps his best outing of the season, but the Detroit Tigers' new look bullpen gave up five runs on six hits in the seventh inning to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the first game of a four game series at Baltimore, handing the Orioles a 7-5 win.

The Tigers got on the board in the first inning when Orioles' starter Ubaldo Jimenez gave up a pair of walks to J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera and an RBI single to Victor Martinez. Detroit left runners at the corners. Steven Moya, just called up from Toledo, singled to lead off the second inning and Justin Upton, playing center field for the first time in his career, hit a two-out double in the third inning, but the Tigers did not take advantage. Five hits and three walks resulted in one run over three innings.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. Ian Kinsler singled, J.D. Martinez doubled, and Cabrera grounded out,  scoring Kinsler to make it 3-0. Victor Martinez walked, but Nick Castellanos popped out with two on to end the inning.

Pelfrey retired the side in order on a pair of grounders and a strikeout in the first, and induced another pair of ground ball outs in each of the next two innings. Seven of the Orioles' first 10 outs were made on ground balls, and Pelfrey allowed just a walk and a single through four frames. The Orioles threatened in the fifth inning with a pair of two-out, ground ball singles but Pelfrey struck out Joey Rickard to end the threat with the Tigers up 3-0.

After Iglesias and Kinsler reached base in the sixth inning, Jimenez was replaced by Vance Worley. Singles by Cabrera and Victor Martinez scored another two runs to make it 5-0 Tigers.

The Orioles finally got on the board in the sixth inning with a leadoff single off the wall by Machado and a Chris Davis double to left-center field. When Pelfrey walked Trumbo to put runners on first and second with one out, manager Brad Ausmus summoned Kyle Ryan from the bullpen. Ryan retired the only man he faced, and Drew VerHagen came on and gave up a ground ball single that Iglesias couldn't handle, scoring the Orioles' second run. Wilson then got Ryan Flaherty to ground out to first base, leaving the Tigers with a 5-2 lead heading to the seventh inning.

Alex Wilson came on for the Tigers in the seventh inning, allowing three consecutive singles, reducing the lead to 5-3 with one out. Justin Wilson was called in to face Davis with two on and one out, and promptly gave up a single on an 0-2 count to make it 5-4. Wilson got Trumbo to fly out to Moya in shallow left field, holding the runners at first and third with two outs. Pedro Alvarez then singled to right field to tie the game at 5-5 on the fifth Baltimore single of the inning. Jonathan Schoop then tripled into the right field corner, scoring two runs to put the Orioles up 7-5.

Darren O'Day retired the Tigers in order in the eighth inning and Zach Britton came on to get the save, handing the Tigers their second straight loss and their ninth loss in the past 10 games.

ROARS:

Mike Pelfrey worked 5-1/3 strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits, a pair of walks and five strikeouts.

Victor Martinez had three hits and a walk with two RBI.

Ian Kinsler recorded a pair of hits and a walk, scoring two runs. He's now hitting .296 for the season.

Steven Moya notched a pair of hits in his first major league game of the season and made a nice catch in left field to end the third inning.

HISSES:

Justin and Alex Wilson gave up five singles and a triple in the seventh inning, allowing five runs on six hits to blow the lead, denying Pelfrey his first win of the season.  A two-run triple allowed by Justin Wilson capped off an awful performance, turning a 5-0 lead into a 7-5 deficit.

The Tigers offense stranded 11 runners, and the missed opportunities would come back to haunt them.

STREAKS AND STATS:
  • The game featured four of the American league's top five batting leaders, with Castellanos, Victor Martinez, Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo.
  • Victor Martinez recorded three hits, giving him ten in his last 13 at bats, boosting his batting line to a sizzling .362/ .422/ .578, and an even 1.000 OPS for the season.
  • The only Tigers' starter without a hit was league leading Nick Castellanos, who was 0 for 4 after his night off in Washington the previous game.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs