The Tigers rolled into Baltimore having lost eleven of their last twelve games, hoping that a three-game series against the team with the worst record in the major leagues would help to put an end to their losing ways. The Tigers sent Daniel Norris to the mound against the Orioles’ Gabriel Ynoa. The Memorial Day contest featured a match up between the two teams with the largest negative run differential, and with more implications for the 2020 June draft than it had for the 2019 season.
Both teams displayed poor defense in the opening frame, with Keon Buxton dropping an easy pop fly to center field off the bat of Christin Stewart, and Norris throwing the ball into right field after a bunt single. While the Tigers squandered the gift, Norris served up a two run homer to Renato Nunez, his 13th dinger of the season which glanced off the foul pole in left field to give the O’s an early 2- 0 lead.
Brandon Dixon drilled a one-out double off third base in the second inning and scored on a single to right field by Grayson Greiner to cut the lead in half. Norris walked Dwight Smith to lead off the bottom of the second, and Broxton singled him over to third, leaving runners at the corners with no outs. Norris retired Steve Wilkerson on a fly to short right field before Broxton stole second with one out. Richie Martin hit a high chopper to Dixon at third base, and he threw home to get Smith in a rundown. With two outs, Hanser Alberto flew out to Jacoby Jones in center field to end the threat.
With two outs in the third inning, Castellanos hit a fly ball to center that got by Broxton and was scored a double, but Miguel Cabrera grounded out sharply to Ynoa to strand the runner. With one out in the bottom of the third, Trey Mancini singled and Nunez hit a routine ground ball to shortstop, but Ronny Rodriguez threw the ball into right field for his sixth error of the season, allowing Mancini to score while the batter went all the way to third base. Nunez would score on a sacrifice fly by Pedro Severino to make it 4- 1 Baltimore after three innings. Both runs in the inning were unearned.
Greiner’s second single of the game gave Detroit runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth inning, and Jones drove a single to left field scoring Dixon from second to cut the lead to 4- 2. Niko Goodrum then flew out to deep center field, stranding a pair of runners.
With two outs in the fourth inning and a runner on first, Alberto singled up the middle as Harrison took his time getting up while Rodriguez failed to cover second base, so the batter took second without a throw. Fortunately, Norris got Jonathan Villar to fly out to right field, stranding both runners in scoring position.
Dan Straily took the mound for Baltimore to start the fifth inning, sporting a 9.09 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, while having allowed 54 hits in 34 innings. Stewart led off with a single and scored all the way from first on Castellanos’ 16th double of the season. Cabrera flew out to right field and Castellanos got caught off second base, spoiling another scoring chance. Norris then worked around a two out walk to leave it at 4- 3 Baltimore after five innings.
Norris continued to battle until he was removed by Gardenhire in the sixth inning, having thrown exactly 100 pitches, his high for the season. He worked 5 2/3 innings allowing four runs, two of those earned, on six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Victor Alcantara came on in relief with a runner on second and two outs. He got Alberto on a comebacker to end the inning.
Villar drilled the first pitch from Alcantara in the bottom of the seventh inning into the right field seats to give the Orioles a two run lead at 5- 3.
Blaine Hardy came on in relief for Detroit in the eighth inning and recorded his fourth straight scoreless appearance, retiring the side in order and recording his first strikeout since April 16th.
Straily allowed one run in four innings, yielding two hits while striking out four Tigers, retiring eight batters in a row before giving up a leadoff single to Harrison to lead off the ninth inning, and he was replaced by Shawn Armstrong, who was recently claimed off waivers from Seattle. With Mychal Givens being removed from the closer’s role, Armstrong could be the “best of a bad lot” in line for some saves.
Armstrong walked Greiner to put two on with nobody out. Jones fouled off two pitches that were outside and whiffed on a check swing for the first out. Goodrum completed a hitless performance with a fly out to left field. Both runners advanced on defensive indifference, but Harrison left with an injury after sliding into third. Runners were in scoring position with two outs, but Stewart popped out to shortstop to end the game.
Straily picked up the victory since Ynoa did not complete five innings, and Armstrong gets the save.
Detroit falls to 19- 32 for the season with their 12th loss in 13 games, and are now 3-1/2 games “behind” the Orioles for the first pick in the 2020 June draft.
Who was the Tigers’ player of the game?
This poll is closed
Grayson Greiner (2 fior 3, BB, RBI)
Nick Castellanos (2 for 4, RBI)
Daniel Norris (5-2/3 IP, 4 R, 2 ER)