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Orioles 6, Tigers 2: Tigers drop first game of the cellar series

The Tigers add another to the loss column against the similarly sad Orioles.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In an epic battle between two teams vying the top draft pick in the 2020 amateur draft, the Detroit Tigers inched closer to that goal with a loss to the Baltimore Orioles. The combined losses between the two teams on this date is the greatest ever on record, and could possible be the highest tally ever. Nonetheless, there was baseball to be played, and an embarrassingly sparse crowd was a witness to the Tigers’ loss number 103 at Comerica Park Friday night.

The game started off odd enough, with Jonathan Villar leading off with a nubber that started slightly foul but Jordan Zimmermann allowed it to roll back fair, where it eventually stopped at the first base bag. After stealing second base and advancing on a groundout, Villar came around to score on a Trey Mancini single. Mancini would get erased on a runner interference call on a single by Dwight Smith Jr., and Zimmermann struck out Mark Trumbo to close out the inning.

Things were relatively quiet for both teams until the top of the fifth, when the Orioles tagged the Tigers for three runs ignited by four straight hits — three of the extra-base variety — to start off the inning. Zimmermann made it through the entire frame, but was pulled the next inning. His final line was 5 innings pitched, 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 strikeouts and no walks allowed. He gave up one home run to D.J. Stewart but otherwise kept the ball in the park.

The Tigers managed to finally get on the board in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to a rally started by a Christin Stewart leadoff double. Dawel followed up with a groundout, but Jordy Mercer singled to drive in Stewart and was 3-3 at the plate at that point. Travis Demeritte flew out to follow, and Grayson Greiner kept the rally alive with a two-out single up the middle. A Willi Castro line drive brought Mercer home to make it 4-2 before Harold Castro struck out to end the threat.

Unfortunately, the Orioles re-opened a four run lead in the next half inning when Trey Mancini lined a two run shot over the right field fence against reliever Jose Cisnero. That blow served to mute hopes of a comeback, and the Tigers didn’t really threaten the Orioles hold on the game again.

Pontiac native Paul Fry took the mound in the seventh. The left-hander, a graduate of Waterford’s Kettering High School, and presumably the only St. Clair County Community College grad in the major leagues, made his debut with family and friends on hand. Unfortunately, he plays for the Orioles, and had little trouble setting the Tigers down in order in the seventh.

Daniel Stumpf and Gregory Soto threw scoreless innings to get us to the bottom of the ninth, where the Tigers mustered a brief rally. Harold Castro slapped a two-out single through the left side of the infield, and Jeimer Candelario drew a walk. That left things up to Miguel Cabrera, who grounded out softly to end the game.