A five-run 9th inning nearly carried the Orioles to a dramatic, come from behind win but the Tigers held on to win 7-6 and take the first two games of the series in Detroit. After struggling at the plate through eight innings, the Orioles offense came to life in the 9th. With the tying run on 2nd base and only one out, Nelson Cruz struck out swinging and Chris Davis popped out to short left field to kill the rally and drop the Orioles to 1-4 on the season.
Starter Bud Norris gave up 9 hits and 5 runs in only 5 innings of work, and Brian Matusz gave up another two runs in relief to spot the Tigers a 7-1 lead going into the top of the 7th inning. Relievers Evan Meek and Darren O'Day shut the door on the Tigers and gave the Orioles offense and opportunity to get back in the game. The 9th inning rally featured a triple by Adam Jones that plated Chris Davis and a two-run double by Steve Clevenger. David Lough then hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Adrian Gonalez who threw too late to get the speedy Lough at first base, and Steve Lombardozzi came around to bring the Orioles within one run. With runners on first and second and only one down, Nelson Cruz struck out swinging on a pitch down and away and Chris Davis hit a lazy short fly to left field to seal the deal for the Tigers.
Although the Orioles had a golden opportunity to tie the game or even take the lead in the 9th today, the offense failed to produce more than a run in the first eight innings. Additionally, right-hander Bud Norris and southpaw Brian Matusz put pressure on the offense by giving up seven runs through six innings. Norris gave up a three-run double to Torii Hunter in the bottom of the 3rd inning and a two-run home run to Hunter in the 4th inning. Matusz threw 29 pitches in only one frame and gave up two runs to seemingly put the game away. Meanwhile, Tigers starter Rick Porcello stymied the birds by only giving up one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings of work.
The Orioles are now 1-4 after winning on Opening Day against the Red Sox. A combination of unreliable starting pitching and an anemic offense has combined to keep the Orioles out of the last four games. Although some fans will likely expect Orioles manager Buck Showalter to make some moves to spark the offense and solidify the starting rotation, there is no real solution at the moment other than waiting for the team to develop some consistency. The 9th inning comeback was a good sign for this offense, and one should expect the Oriole bats to continue to come around as the weather warms up. Of course, they will have their work cut out for them tomorrow when the birds face Justin Verlander. As much as the Orioles need a win to earn some early-season respectability, tomorrow's game may be a challenge for an offense that has had trouble plating runs of late. Verlander will go up against Orioles ace Chris Tillman who pitched well on Opening Day but did not earn a decision. After Detroit, the Orioles head to Yankee Stadium for another American League East showdown.
Resources for Baltimore Orioles fans