Tigers fans woke up today wondering how our team would lose. Would it be a starting pitching collapse? Would the offense go quiet? Would there be crucial base running errors? Defensive miscues? Or would it be the old standard, with the bullpen coughing up a lead late?
Things started brightly as Ian Kinsler led off with a double, scoring from second on a Miguel Cabrera single. Would this 1-0 lead last? Could this be the day that things change? We put our hopes into this narrow lead and cupped our hands around these embers, hoping this spark could turn into a fire, preferably not in a dumpster that represents the Detroit Tigers' season.
In the bottom of the first, Steven Moya misplayed a ball off of Adam Jones' bat (it was a tough play) and woefully missed the cutoff man, tying the game at one. The faint flickering of hope was quickly extinguished. With the bases loaded and one out, Jonathan Schoop singled in two more runs, 3-1, Orioles. A double play held back the flood.
Moya atoned for his mistake in the second inning, driving home Justin Upton with a triple to right field, running through Dave Clark's stop sign at second base, thus proving his Tigers bona fides by shirking prudent base running. James McCann popped out to first base, and Mike Aviles broke his bat grounding out to shortstop. A ball may have hit Kinsler and he was awarded first base. J.D. Martinez worked four-pitch walk, loading the bases with two out. The dangerous illusion of hope beckoned once again. Cabrera flew out to shallow right center field, leaving it at 3-2, Orioles.
The Tigers were generally hitting Orioles starter Kevin Gausman well and Michael Fulmer had good stuff, but he was unable to harness it consistently. Moya's second hit of the game loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. McCann broke his bat flying out to the shortstop. Aviles grounded out. In this young, frustrating season, this inevitable squandering of another golden opportunity was especially infuriating. Fortunately, Kinsler tied the game in the fourth inning at three with a leadoff homer. In the fifth, the Tigers took a lead when McCann hit a single with two outs to drive home Justin Upton. 4-3, Tigers.
The Orioles were not deterred for long. Aviles muffed a routine ground ball to short, and Machado made the Tigers pay, launching a two-run home run to the opposite field, 5-4, Orioles. The Tigers would strand more runners, Ausmus did some questionable things, and the Tigers lost again. This is how it has always been; this is how it will always be.
Except wait! J.D. Martinez hit a home run in the eighth to tie the ballgame at five. Cabrera hit a home run on the first pitch he saw, and the back-to-back dingers gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead! Alex Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez came on with a one run lead and the top of the order due up. He retired the side in order.
Ian Kinsler: The Tigers second baseman had another fine game, going 2-4 with a dinger and double.
Steven Moya: He is likely headed down with Maybin returning from injury, but he was a home run shy of the cycle today.
Warwick Saupold: The Australian threw two and two-thirds innings without giving up a run.
Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez: Their back-to-back home runs made me feel alive again.
Mike Aviles: I don't get it. He is a lesser Andrew Romine with a premium price tag. His defense was worse than his 0/3 day at the plate.
Michael Fulmer: Fulmer looked really good at times and the Orioles have a great lineup, but four and a third innings with four earned runs doesn't cut it.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Moya's triple left his bat at 112 mph
- The Tigers stranded 10 baserunners
- The Tigers have a one-game winning streak.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: