DETROIT — After getting swept by the Boston Red Sox to open up a two-series road trip, the Baltimore Orioles went into Detroit looking to at least take two of three against the struggling Tigers.
Well, that certainly didn’t happen. The Tigers made easy work of The Birds, sweeping them in three games at Comerica Park to extend Baltimore’s losing streak to six games, the second-longest losing skid in the majors aside from Kansas City’s eight-game tumble.
Game 1 (4-2 DET): Bad mistakes led to Baltimore falling behind in the series. Trailing 2-1 in the fifth inning, the Orioles had runners on first and second base with two outs. Adam Jones singled on a sharply-hit ground ball to right field, which scored the leading runner, Craig Gentry. However, Manny Machado, who’s been the culprit of several base-running blunders in recent memory, got caught in a rundown trying to advance to third base. Machado tried to dive out of the way of third baseman Jeimer Candelario, but was tagged for the final out of the inning with the game tied at 2.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, now trailing 3-2, the Orioles allowed the Tigers to score their final run of the game on a wild pitch from Mychal Givens. With a 1-1 count and two outs, Givens’ next pitch bounced underneath the legs of Caleb Joseph and made its way to the backstop, allowing Victor Reyes to score. Although the play only extended Detroit’s lead to two runs, these defensive breakdowns have been a problem for the Orioles all season long.
Andrew Cashner gave the Orioles a respectable start, going six innings and allowing three runs on seven hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. Victor Martinez hit a two-run homer off Cashner in the second inning, and Candelario tripled in the fifth inning to score Leonys Martin. Francisco Liriano earned the win for Detroit, striking out seven Baltimore batters, who finished the game with 12 K’s.
Trey Mancini hit his second home run of the season in the third inning. Mancini and Jones both led the Orioles with two hits in four at-bats.
Game 2 (6-5 DET): Despite coming from behind multiple times in the late innings, the Orioles still found a way to lose in heartbreaking fashion. Leading 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Darren O’Day imploded. After Miguel Cabrera struck out to open up the frame, Nicholas Castellanos doubled and Martinez singled. Then, John Hicks hit a three-run home run to left field to give Detroit the 5-4 lead.
With Joseph (0.81 average) set to leadoff the ninth inning, Buck Showalter sent recent call-up Luis Sardinas to the plate. Sardines answered the call, hitting his first home run of the season to right field to tie the game at 5. The Orioles then went 1-2-3 to send the game to the bottom of the 9th, where leadoff hitter Dixon Machado immediately hit his first home run of the season off Pedro Araujo to walk it off for Detroit.
With an adjusted delivery, Kevin Gausman delivered his best start of the 2018 season. In six innings, Gausman allowed two runs off nine hits and four strikeouts. The Orioles struck first in the second inning off Danny Valencia‘s second home run of the season. Machado and Chris Davis drove in one run each on singles, and Jones collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly-out.
Game 3 (13-8 DET): After not having a full spring training to prepare for the regular season, Alex Cobb struggled mightily again in his second start with the Orioles. Cobb threw 72 pitches over 3.1 innings on Thursday, allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits, a walk, and four strikeouts. Through two starts, his ERA is up to 15.43.
When Cobb came out of the game, Mike Wright Jr. came on in relief and didn’t fare any better. Wright Jr. also tossed 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on five hits, a walk, and one strikeout.
Araujo came in after Wright and pitched the final 1.1 innings in relief, allowing a run on a Jose Iglesias double that scored Reyes.
Offensively, Davis hit his second home run of the year in the second inning that scored Jones and gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. Machado had a solid day at the plate, going three-for-five with two solo home runs, a double, and a ground-out that gave him four RBI on the afternoon. Along with Machado, Jones also went three-for-five with three doubles and two RBI.
Up next: The Orioles return home for their longest home-stand of the 2018 season, a 10-game stretch against the Indians, Rays, and Tigers. The first four games on that slate are against the Indians.
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