After a 35 minute rain delay to begin, the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles finally faced off. It was the Tigers who struck first, getting a jump on struggling starter Chris Tillman. Ian Kinsler hit a line drive leadoff home run, and then Justin Upton followed with a moonshot to center field and the Tigers had a quick two run lead.
Then, the rain returned and the game was paused for an hour with two outs in the top of the first.
After the break, Matt Boyd allowed a single and then struck out the next three batters in impressive fashion. The Tigers put their first two on in the top of the second inning. But then, in true Tigers fashion, James McCann grounded into an inning-ending triple play.
Undeterred, the Tigers refilled the bases in the top of the third. This time, what should have been a double play to short scooted between the legs of new acquisition Tim Beckham, and two runs scored. The flood gates then opened (figuratively) as the Tigers would rack up five runs to stake an early 7-0 lead and Chase Tillman from the game. They would need that large lead.
Boyd gave up two runs in the bottom of the third on a sac fly and a double, but was able to limit the damage. The Orioles pushed another run across in the fourth as Boyd showed signs of starting to lose his edge. A leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth followed by a walk ended his night. Warwick Saupold came on and induced the inning ending double play on one pitch.
Meanwhile, the Tigers could not figure out Orioles reliever Miguel Castro, who ended up going six innings, retiring his final 12 in a row.
Called up earlier on Thursday, Edward Mujica made his Tigers debut in the bottom of the seventh to relieve Saupold after the first two batters reached. Mujica allowed a run to score on a groundout, but got the next two batters easily to preserve the lead. He followed it up with a solo home run allowed in the bottom of the eighth, but that was all.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ausmus would call on his new closer, Shane Greene, for a third night in a row (apparently, Joe Jimenez fell into a black hole and disappeared). But Greene handled it like the stud he is and retired the side in a clean 1-2-3 inning for his third save since inheriting the closer’s role.
Ian Kinsler & Justin Upton: Everyone loves dingers, and they hit two big ones to start the game.
A five run third inning: It came courtesy of a costly error, but it was nice to see the Tigers take advantage of a team’s mistake and go for the kill.
Greene’s elbow ligament: Because no ligament should have to deal with what it’s been through, but it’s handling it like a champ.
Matt Boyd: Staked to a big early lead, he was unable to work quickly and efficiently and was eventually lifted in the fifth inning after giving up a double and a walk. He lasted just 4 1⁄3 innings and allowed three earned runs, walked four, and struck out six.
STREAKS AND INFO:
The triple play turned by the Orioles in the second inning was their second triple play of the year. They turned one earlier on May 2nd against the Red Sox.
The last time the Tigers had hit into a triple play was May 23rd 2015 against the Houston Astros.
A single in the ninth innings extended McCann’s hihtting streak to 13 games.