The Baltimore Orioles dug themselves out of an early hole only to fall to Detroit on a late eighth-inning home run.
The Baltimore Orioles opened a huge series in Detroit with a 4-3 loss which tied Detroit with the Orioles for the final wild card spot. The Orioles win the tiebreaker at this point due to a better head-to-head record, however this was a game the Birds wanted to win. However the series itself can still be won with victories in the final two games.
Kevin Gausman gave up three early runs, but left his team in a position to win the game. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Gausman suffered early on from an apparent squeezed strike zone, and a couple of borderline pitches that appeared to go Detroit’s way. However as we all know, that’s part of the game. You have to pitch to the strike zone, and once he settled down Gausman was able to do that and to turn in a quality start.
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Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the last of the second on Alex Aybar’s RBI-double. However one of the bigger plays of the game could have occurred an inning later – had the Orioles come back and won. Victor Martinez lined out to right field, and Ian Kinsler tagged up at third base and tried to score (with two outs). Trumbo fired home, and Matt Wieters tagged Kinsler out to end the inning on a double-play.
That play kept the game right where it was, and it’s exactly the type of electrifying play on defense that we’ve come to expect in the Buck Showalter era. However two innings later in the fifth, J.D. Martinez gave Detroit a 3-0 lead on his two-RBI single. That downplayed the effect of the play at the plate – but the Orioles weren’t done yet.
Jonathan Schoop brought the Orioles to within 3-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth, and Adam Jones’ RBI-single in the eighth tied the game at three. The Orioles appeared to be coming back, and certainly by tying the game they got Kevin Gausman off the hook. However for once, it was the Orioles’ bullpen that couldn’t hold things in place…
…Brad Brach came in to pitch the last of the eighth. However Victor Martinez came up to bat, and decided to end the game – for all intents and purposes. His solo homer off of Brach gave Detroit a 4-3 lead. And they never looked back, taking game one of three.
Again, the O’s still have a shot to win this series. And that’s the goal at this point; just win series’, especially against teams chasing you. This season is one that looks like it might come down to the final weekend. And that means that whomever makes it out of the regular season and into the playoffs will be battle-tested.