Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's game got under way at 7:35 due to a brief rain delay with Bud Norris and Rick Porcello on the mound. The Orioles struck first in the 2nd when Steve Clevenger hit an RBI double. Porcello would cruise from their on. The Tigers got two runs off Norris in the 4th inning on Miguel Cabrera's RBI single and a sac fly by Austin Jackson. Norris dealt from their on until an untimely Ian Kinsler two-run homer with two outs in the 8th. Joe Nathan set the Orioles down in order in the 9th to hand the O's a 4-1 loss.
Bud Norris was on his game for most of the night with above average pitch command and efficiency with the pitch count that allowed him to work into the 8th inning. He had his strikeout stuff going tonight, often working ahead in the count with good fastball command, then findhing hitters off with his plus slider. If you watched the first 7 2/3 innings of Bud Norris's outing, you would rightfully classify it as one of his best outings as an Oriole. He had particular dominance over rookie Nick Castellanos who struck out three times for the hat trick. The middle of the lineup was able to get to him in the 4th inning when Miguel Cabrera drove in Ian Kinsler on a single after Kinsler walked. Austin Jackson then scored Cabrera on a sac fly which gave the Tigers a lead they would not surrender. Norris stayed in perhaps a few batters too long as his fastball command waned in the 8th and Kinsler took advantage of a high fastball for a home run to give the Tigers a secure lead. Overall, an impressive performance despite the disappointing end result.
Final Line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, Loss
Preston Guilmet took over for Norris in the 8th inning and stayed on to pitch the 9th. This was his debut outing as an Oriole and he looked sharp, flashing a plus changeup for two swinging strikeouts in the top of 9th inning.
There's not much to write home about on offense tonight. The Orioles couldn't find against Porcello who did an excellent job of pitching to contact with his mid 90's sinker. His sinker induced an impressive 9-to-3 groundout/air out ratio and made it difficult for the Orioles to drive in runs as extra base hits were hard to come by. The lone exception to this rule was Steve Clevenger who had a nice 3-for-4 night at the plate with two doubles and drove in the lone Orioles run in the 2nd inning.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
Bud Norris showed excellent hustle over to the Orioles dugout where he made a nice catch at the railing in the top of the 5th.
JJ Hardy laid out to snag a sharp line drive in the 6th inning.
In the same inning, Steve Clevenger nabbed Ian Kinsler trying to steal with a nice tag applied by Jonathan Schoop.
Key Moments In The Game
The key moments in this game for me started with the two walks Norris allowed. Once in the 4th and once in the 8th, the Tigers were able to draw a walk versus Norris and in both cases the walks led to two runs scoring. The potent Tigers lineup will take advantage of any little mistake.
Other Notes/ Musings
We had some drama in the 8th inning. After the Kinsler homer, Bud Norris plunked Torii Hunter, who then "exchanged words" with Norris. Benches cleared as tension brewed between the two and they looked ready to fight. Norris eventually made his way to the dugout, but was tossed from the game after making another choice comment from the dugout.
Steve Clevenger now has 8 doubles on the year which leads the Orioles despite him playing in a part time role. He's also batting .304 now. Who need Wieters? I kid.
Lost amid the excitement of the Orioles recent 5-game winning streak is the fact that the offense has not scored more than 5 runs in a game since May 1. Hopefully, that will change with Chris Davis back in the order. It will need to with a run-scoring machine of a Tigers offense in town.
A big reason for the Orioles recent winning stretch had been the 13 consecutive quality start stretch for the starting pitchers that was snapped tonight single handedly by Ian Kinsler.
Cruzzz t-shirt night tomorrow. Drew Smyly and Ubaldo Jimenez on the monund.
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