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Tigers 5, Orioles 2: Detroit splits series behind strong start from Tyler Alexander

Alexander tossed six solid innings as the Tigers inched closer to the 50-win mark.

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

The Detroit Tigers played an afternoon game on a Monday for some reason, but took home a well-earned victory for their efforts. Tyler Alexander limited the Baltimore Orioles to a single run in six solid innings, and the Tigers beat the Orioles by a 5-2 score.

The Tigers got off to a fast start in this one. After Alexander set the O’s down in order in the top of the first, Victor Reyes led off the home half with a triple. Jordy Mercer then took the very next pitch from Baltimore starter John Means deep to left-center field for a two-run home run. It was Mercer’s ninth homer of the year and third in the month of September, and it gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

The score stayed there for a while. Alexander didn’t allow a baserunner until the third inning, and only allowed one Oriole runner to reach scoring position through his first five frames. The Tigers’ offense was similarly quiet; Means set down 12 Detroit hitters in a row after Mercer’s home run.

Things opened up in the bottom of the fifth, though. Dawel Lugo singled to open the inning, then moved to second on a single from Travis Demeritte. The Tigers looked as if they would strand both runners when Means retired the next two hitters — side note: don’t ever ask Jake Rogers to bunt again, @tigers — but Victor Reyes came through with a two-out, two-run double. Reyes was thrown out at third, but the damage was done, as Detroit’s lead stretched to 4-0.

Alexander ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the sixth — relative to the rest of his day, that is. He gave up a two-out solo home run to Trey Mancini then allowed another single, but retired Renato Nunez to end the inning. It was the only inning in which Alexander allowed multiple baserunners.

From there, things were all but over. The Tigers tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth, and gave up another in the top of the seventh. Jose Cisnero worked his way out of his own jam in the seventh, then Buck Farmer retired a pair of hitters in the eighth before leaving the game under rather unusual circumstances.

Farmer’s exit didn’t appear to be related to the hit-by-pitch itself; he hit Nunez on the hand on a 1-2 pitch, and while Nunez was not happy about how the at-bat unfolded — he also appeared to twist his ankle on a swing at one point — there was nothing too far out of the ordinary. My best amateur guess is that Farmer, who threw 26 pitches to four batters (including a whopping 12 to Anthony Santander) and was visibly sweating and a bit red in the face, just got overheated. We certainly hope this is the case.

After Farmer’s exit, David McKay recorded the final out of the eighth. Joe Jimenez loaded the bases with three consecutive two-out singles in the ninth, but escaped the jam for his seventh save of the year.

But the best part of the game?