The Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers by a score of 9-5 Thursday night to get the better of the three-game opening series at Camden Yards. The Tigers took game two and wasted no time getting started when starter Chris Tillman gave up hits to Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch who were each knocked in by Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera giving Detroit a 2-0 lead.
The Orioles battled back in the 2nd as Vladimir Guerrero hit his first home run as an Oriole off Brad Penny. Adam Jones then bunted safely, stole second and scored on a double by Mark Reynolds to tie the game at 2-2. Detroit answered right back with Alex Avila hitting a homer in the fifth. After walking Will Rhymes and yielding an RBI double to Brennan Boesch, manager Buck Showalter made a pitching change, bringing in Jeremy Accardo with the birds down 4-2. Accardo got them out of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Luke Scott hit a double off Penny, which was followed by a monster blast by Adam Jones to tie the game at 4-4. The Tigers would fight back one more time in the seventh when Alex Avila walked, advanced to second on a bunt by Santiago, and scored the go ahead run on a double by Jackson.
Showalter made another pitching change bringing in Jim Johnson. The seventh would belong to the O’s as Roberts started the inning with a base hit, followed by a walk to Nick Markakis. This marked the end of the night for Penny, with Gonzales in for Relief. Vladimir Guerrero tied the game with a base hit that scorE. Roberts. An intentional walk to Luke Scott loaded the bases for Adam Jones. Someone should have told Gonzales that Jones was on fire tonight. He hit a sacrifice fly that scored Markakis. Reynolds hit a two-run double and Cesar Izturis provided the final run of the game when he knocked in Matt Wieters after an earlier walk. The Birds hung on to win 9-5.
While it’s common for even great teams to experience losing streaks, mediocre teams can have a winning streak or two over the course of a long season. But the incredible heart, fundamentals and leadership on this team is genuine, and it isn’t going away. Players are playing better, smarter and working as a team. This is evident from the offense stealing more bases, bunting, executing hit-and-runs and delivering sac flies.
Furthermore, the Orioles are running the bases smarter and more aggressive. Their defense has been stellar; starting with pitchers throwing first-pitch strikes and using out pitches more often. They all throw to different strengths, but the pattern is evident nonetheless. In the field I’m seeing infield and outfield shifts frequently to make the best advantage of every changing situation.
The O’s will host the unbeaten Texas Rangers tonight and this will be no easy task, but Texas had better plan for a tough series as well, because the birds are better with Buck.