Oct 3, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher J. Verlander (35) pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles in game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers sent Justin Verlander to the mound for Game Two of the ALDS, and lost to the Orioles 7-6 after a comeback by the Orioles in the 8th inning. Verlander was solid, closer to the JV of old, going five innings and giving up six hits, three runs, one walk and four strikeouts. Verlander gave up a two run homer to Nick Markakis in the third inning, and then ran into trouble in the fourth as well, giving up a single to Adam Jones to start the inning, he moved to second on a Nelson Cruz ground out, and scored on J.J. Hardy‘s two out single. Verlander struggled in the 5th, but got out of the inning without giving up a run. Brad Ausmus sent Verlander back out to start the sixth, but replaced him with Anibal Sanchez when Ezequial Carrera(who replaced Rajai Davis after the fourth inning) misplayed a catchable ball that turned into a single.
Sanchez came into the game with a runner on and no one out, and while he was rusty and looked to be missing his location a bit, he ended the inning, retiring the Orioles he faced in order and stranding Verlander’s final base runner on second. Sanchez returned for the seventh inning and was lights out, retiring the side in order, making his first appearance in the 2014 Post Season with a six up, six down relief effort that the Tigers desperately needed.
Joba Chamberlain was on the mound for the eighth, as Ausmus rarely deviates from his “late-inning with a lead” playbook. Joba got a quick first out, and then hit Adam Jones to put a runner on first with one out and bring Nelson Cruz to the plate. Cruz singled and Jones scored on a single by Steve Pearce, drawing the Orioles a run closer, cutting the lead to two.
Joakim Soria relieved Chamberlain after Pearce’s single, and proceeded to walk Hardy, to load the bases with one out. The Orioles sent former Tiger and 2012 ALCS MVP to the plate as a pinch hitter and hit a three run double to give the Orioles the lead. Soria was then able to retire Kelly Johnson and Jonathan Schoop to end the inning.
The Detroit Tigers offense was kept quiet until the third inning, and then showed up in a big way. Torii Hunter led off with a single, Miguel Cabrera followed up with a double that moved Hunter to third, and Hunter scored on a single by Victor Martinez. J.D. Martinez then hit a three run homer to give the Tigers the lead for the first time in the series. Nick Castellanos followed up J.D.’s blast with one of his own, giving the Tigers back to back homers in back to back games to start the playoffs.
The Tigers offense threatened and scored again in the eighth inning. Torii Hunter led off with a rare base on balls and Miguel Cabrera followed it up with a single. Victor Martinez nearly hit one out, but it bounced off the wall. Torii scored easily, but Cabrera made a bad call and tried to score as well and was thrown out at the plate for the first out of the inning. Unfortunately, that put the kibosh on the rally and the Tigers had to settle for just one additional run in the eighth.
The Tigers offense had three final outs to tie the game in the top of the ninth, and started off by sending Hernan Perez to the plate to pinch hit for Alex Avila, and Perez grounded out. Romine struck out. Eugenio Suarez pinch hit for Carrera and grounded out to short to end the game.
The Tigers and Orioles are off tomorrow for travel to Detroit. They play at 3:30pm Sunday at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI.