For the second time in two days, the Detroit Tigers’ starter got off to a rocky start and allowed the visiting Baltimore Orioles to grab the lead in the first inning. For the second time in two days, it didn’t matter as the Tigers beat the Orioles 7-6. It was awful tense in the 9th inning as a laugher turned into a nail-biter as the bullpen and defense allowed five Orioles’ runs. Nonetheless, it still counts as a win and that win has allowed Detroit to start 4-0 for just the third time in 28 years.
The Tigers’ bats continued to boom in the Baltimore series, but they didn’t need most of those runs (until the stressful ninth inning that is) as Rick Porcello started his season with a bang. He settled down after allowing a walk to the leadoff man, David Lough, who would steal second and come around to score on a Chris Davis single.
That would be all she wrote for the scoring off Porcello as he went on to retire the final nine batters he faced, and 16 out of the final 17.
Detroit dug out of the 1-0 hole in the third when a white-hot Torii Hunter laced a double down the left field line which scored three Tigers. Hunter added to that lead with a two-run homer, his second home run in the last two games. It was a good thing Hunter had a great game at the plate because a couple of defensive misplays have left fans scratching their heads about the former Gold Glove winner’s exploits in the outfield lately.
For the second straight day, the Tigers brought in a reliever to gain some confidence with big leads in the 9th inning and neither rose to the occasion. Phil Coke allowed a couple runs one day after Joba Chamberlain accomplished the same feat. Then multiple defensive mishaps (two by Alex Gonzales at short) and another less than optimal effort from Joe Nathan allowed Baltimore to score five times in the inning. With Chris Davis at the plate with two on and the Tigers lead whittled to one run, Nathan induced a pop out to earn a very unconventional and unlikely first save as a Detroit Tiger.
Very disconcerting for future close ballgames.
- Though Detroit improves to 4-0, Porcello’s win was the first for a Tigers starter.
- The Detroit Tigers remain the only undefeated team in baseball.
- Alex Avila called a very good game in helping Porcello’s masterful effort on Saturday, but he continues to have a miserable start at the plate. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts to drop his average to .083. Avila also got dinged up a bit (Earth-shattering news, I know) when took a foul ball to the ankle, but stayed in the game. Could Bryan Holaday receive his first start in 2014 on Sunday? It’s likely.
- Don Kelly received his first start of the season and rose to the occasion. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple and two runs scored.
- Baltimore has lost four straight since beating the World Champion Red Sox on Opening Day.
- Tigers attendance on Saturday: more than 32,000. Indians: 14,150.