May 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Joe Nathan (36) congratulates Miguel Cabrera (24) after a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Tigers defeated the Orioles 7-5 completing the three game sweep. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Orioles called up prospect Kevin Gausman to make the start against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon, but the boys from the Motor City didn’t welcome him kindly in his season debut.
It started well enough for Gausman — he struck out the first two batters he faced and retired the first six in order — but the success pretty much ended there. The Tigers put up two runs in the third inning and three in the fourth to chase the youngster from the game after only four innings. His final line: 4.0 IP, 2 SO, 2 BB, 6 H, 5 ER.
Contrary to what we’ve seen in recent years, it wasn’t loads of slugging that put Detroit on the board early. Four singles in the third inning — two of them of the infield variety — pushed across two runs, and then two walks, a single, a bunt single (suicide squeeze), and a sacrifice fly plated three runs in the fourth inning, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead.
Unfortunately it wouldn’t be all rainbows and smiles. After Detroit added one more run in the top of the fifth inning — you guessed it, on a single off the bat of Don Kelly — the Orioles bounced back for five runs in the bottom half of the inning. Starting pitcher Justin Verlander allowed a walk and three base hits to plate a pair of runs and leave a pair on base when Nelson Cruz stepped up to the plate and swatted a three-run homer.
Al Alburquerque and Ian Krol combined for a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Verlander, and, although he loaded the bases in the eighth inning, Joba Chamberlain worked through a scoreless inning as well. Slugger Chris Davis drew a walk from Joe Nathan with two outs in the ninth to bring the tying run up to the plate, but Cruz grounded out to end the game and give Detroit the series sweep.