The Orioles headed into Detroit to face the Tigers, and, believe it or not, it was a battle of two teams playing fantastic baseball since the All-Star Break.
The Tigers came in winning nine of their last 13 after the break, while the Orioles have been victorious in nine of their 11 games.
Pitching was at a premium in this series, which may come as a slight surprise. Both sides saw very good outings from their starters, in a series where the collection of arms was actually quite underrated. Casey Mize showcased in game one why he is the future of the Tigers. Meanwhile, John Means continued to return to his ace form for the Orioles, and Matt Harvey kept pitching like it was 2015.
Without further ado, let’s go over what went down in the Motor City during this series split!
Like said previously, Casey Mize started this game for the Tigers, and being the first time I have gotten to see him pitch live, hats off to him. He pitched fantastically against an Orioles lineup that has been hitting the cover off the ball recently.
The Birds were able to muster up only four hits in the game, all four coming off Mize. Ryan McKenna netted a two-hit game, and the only other two hits came off the bats of Maikel Franco and Cedric Mullins.
Alexander Wells was on the bump for the Orioles, and he got a taste of some more big league hitting right away. Former Oriole favorite, Jonathan Schoop, put Detroit ahead in the first with an RBI single. This was followed by a sac fly; the Orioels trailed 2-0 after one frame.
Wells didn’t necessarily pitch poorly in this game; a lack of run support makes the box score seem a little more one-sided than it really was. After that first inning, Wells allowed two more runs, one in the third and then a solo home run in the fifth. Wells’ day ended after five innings with the Orioles trailing 4-0.
The Orioles finally got on the board in the seventh via an un-earned run. Domingo Leyba flied out to left, and McKenna was able to score on a throwing error. This cut the deficit to 4-1; still a very winnable ballgame.
The bullpen came in and did not help out their starter. Adam Plutko came on in relief in the seventh, and he gave up two more runs, one on a triple and the other on Miguel Cabrera’s second home run of the game. These two shots put Cabrera at 497 home runs for his career. Kudos to him! He will hit that 500 home run milestone very soon!
The Orioles did tack on one more run from a wild pitch in the ninth, although it was a little too late. The Orioles dropped game one 6-2. Alex Wells took the loss and moves to 1-1 on his young career.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Ryan McKenna. This one is a little by default, but his two-hit game was certainly the highlight tonight.
Let the fun start! In game two, Matt Harvey took the mound. Now, if I had said that in May through the first half of July, you would cringe at those words. However, Harvey continued his incredible three-game stretch with maybe his best start of the season. Through 6.1 innings, he allowed zero runs and allowed just six hits. That now makes 18.1 straight innings without a run allowed for Harvey. Wow!
The Orioles offense brought their run support shoes this game, scoring four runs for Harvey, one in each inning from the third through sixth.
Of these four runs, three came via the long ball. Pedro Severino sent one out in the third to go up 1-0! This was an absolute bomb that traveled over the center field wall that measures in at 420 feet! More on him later…
In the fourth, AL Rookie of the Year candidate, Ryan Mountcastle, showed off his power. His 17th homer on the year gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead and put him within two home runs of Trey Mancini for the team lead of 19!
Once again, Severino found the seats in the fifth! His second home run on the day extended the Oriole lead to 3-0!
What turned out to be a a very important fourth run came in the sixth. Ramón Urías singled home Mancini, and the Birds went up 4-0! This was Urías’ 24th RBI on the year in less than 200 at-bats. With the recent trade of Freddy Galvis, Ramón is poised to hold down that shortstop position for the Orioles, and it is much deserved!
Enter Tanner Scott, who let this game get far too close. He gave up a triple and then a wild pitch to make it a 4-1 game. He then gave up an RBI single, hit batter, and a walk. Then entered Dillon Tate, who gave up a sac fly, a walk, and a wild pitch of his own. Luckily for the Orioles, they were able to escape the jam and come out with a 4-3 victory!
Matt Harvey earned the win and moved to 6-10.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game goes to Matt Harvey! His six-inning shutout outing was his third straight scoreless appearance, as he was able to hold that Tigers lineup down enough to come out victorious!
With our ace, John Means, on the mound, the Tigers’ lineup looked silly.
“The Businessman” allowed just one run across four hits and netted the Orioles’ second straight six-inning appearance by a starter. This was also their sixth six-inning appearance since the break, while the Oriole starters only saw 16 the entire first half! Eight of those 16 six-inning appearances in the first half came from Means alone. Aren’t you happy he’s back? We sure are at The Baltimore Battery!
The scoring started in the third, and the Orioles never trailed from that point forward. Mountcastle singled and gave his team and pitcher a 1-0 lead!
The one run Means allowed came in the bottom of the third via a solo home run from Eric Haase. This tied the game at one.
Maikel Franco then came through for the Birds, launching his 11th home run in the fifth! He followed this up in the sixth with an RBI from a throwing error, and the Orioles led 3-1!
Pat Valaika continued his hit streak in the sixth, when he singled home two more runs! This three-run inning gave the Orioles some insurance as the bullpen came on.
For the second day in a row, Tanner Scott needed to be bailed out after a horrendous outing. He walked two batters and hit another before being pulled with bases loaded. Cole “Clutch” Sulser then came on and shut the door with the Tigers’ fingers stuck inside it! Sulser forced a groundout that scored one run, then followed with two strikeouts! The Orioles held on and won this one 5-2!
Means got the win and moved to 5-2. Sulser earned the save, which was good for his fifth on the season.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Ryan Mountcastle, whowent 3-for-5, including an RBI and a run scored! Honorable mentions to both John Means and Cole Sulser!
With the chance to take this series for the Orioles, Spenser Watkins was on the mound. Although it was a loss for Watkins, he didn’t pitch poorly, similar to his last outing.
He lasted 5.2 innings, one out shy of making it three straight six-inning appearances. In those 5.2 innings, he let up four runs on three hits.
The Orioles came out firing in the first inning, as they hit three doubles. Hays led off with a double, and he was brought home by Mountcastle’s double. Santander then followed that with a double of his own, thus making it a 2-0 game before Watkins touched the mound.
Watkins’ two walks bit him in the butt in the bottom of the first. The pair of two-out free passes turned into runs scored, following a single and a double. Just like that, the Tigers had a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately for the Orioles, no Baltimore feet would touch the plate again. Almost worse, the Orioles only mustered up two more hits in the entire game.
Miguel Cabrera added to the lead in the sixth, also the fourth run scored off Watkins.
With a 4-2 lead, the Tigers were able to score two more off Keegan Akin in the seventh, but the runs were credited to Conner Greene, who had let those runners on before being relieved. This put the Orioles down 6-2, and they were unable to climb back.
Spenser Watkins took the loss and moved to 1-1 on the year.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player(s) of the Game are Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander. Both players went 2-for-4 with an RBI double, while Mountcastle also scored one run. Also, each of them accounted for one of the other two hits the Orioles managed after the first inning.
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