After losing two of three to the Red Sox, the Orioles left Baltimore on a late-night flight to Detroit that left the team little time to rest for an early showdown against the Tigers. A rainout was not out of the question with a cold rain falling at Comerica Park, and in retrospect the Orioles probably wished the game had been a washout. In the end, the Tigers pounded the birds 10-4 and dropped the struggling Orioles to 1-3 on the season.
Starter Miguel Gonzalez gave up 7 runs and 9 hits in only 3 1/3 innings, including a three-run blast to Rajai Davis after a short rain delay. After the early exit of Miguel Gonzalez, the Orioles relievers had trouble settling down the Tigers offense. John Stinson gave up four hits and one run in 2 2/3 innings of relief, and Ryan Webb followed up by allowing four hits and two runs in only 1 2/3 innings. The two runs that Webb allowed came off the bat of Miguel Cabrera who ended up with four hits and three runs batted in. Tommy Hunter came in for a brief appearance and struck out the only batter he would face in the game.
Meanwhile, the Orioles failed once again to spark an offense that was supposed to be one of the strongest in the league. Other than Chris Davis' two-run single in the first inning, the Orioles seemed sluggish at the plate. Lough and Lombardozzi produced one single apiece, but the rest of the lineup struggled to make good contact with the ball until the 9th inning when back-up catcher and Maryland native Steve Clevenger hit a triple that plated Nelson Cruz and Jonathan Schoop singled in Clevenger to make the score 10-4 in favor of Detroit. In the end it was too little, too late for the Orioles but the fact that the birds failed to surrender until the last out is always a good sign of character and resiliency in a team that is expected to compete with the powerhouse teams in the division this year.
Today's game featured utilization of the new Major League Baseball replay system in the top of the 5th. After Steve Lombardozzi blooped a single to short right, Nick Markakis followed with a ground ball to second baseman Ian Kinsler who threw the ball to shortstop Andrew Romine. The ball entered Romine's glove in plenty of time, but on the transfer he bobbled and then dropped the ball. The umpire initially called Lombardozzi safe which resulted in Tigers manager Brad Ausmus requesting that the umpires implement the replay system. After a couple of minutes, the New York replay monitors affirmed the call and Lombardozzi was safe at second base. The call did little to help the Orioles who followed up with David Lough hitting a foul pop to short left field, Adam Jones flying out to right, and Chris Davis striking out.
The Orioles and their fans were certainly hoping for a better start than 1-3, but it's far too early to start panicking in Birdland. Yet, the upcoming schedule does not bode well for a team that is having a difficult time plating runs and whose starting pitching is mediocre. This series will not get any easier with the Detroit Tigers pitting Rick Porcello against Bud Norris in game 2 and Justin Verlander against Chris Tillman in the final match on Sunday. Salvaging at least one of the next two games is essential for the Orioles to avoid digging themselves a hole too early in the season, although winning the next two would pull them to .500 on the season and relieve some of the pressure as they head into Yankee Stadium next week.
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