Detroit Tigers: Verlander roughed up, Tigers fall below .500


Any glimmer of hope Detroit Tigers fans received with the team’s victory on Friday has completely evaporated in the last two days.

Right-hander Justin Verlander allowed more than five runs for the third time this season, and the Tigers fell to the Orioles, 9-3, on Sunday. The loss drops Detroit to 45-46 on the year, which marks the first time in 2015 Detroit has a record below .500.

Making his first start in nine days, Verlander wasn’t particularly sharp, but like in his Toronto start two weeks ago, the wheels fell off in one inning. This time, it was the fourth.

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Verlander allowed seven hits, a walk and six runs in the frame as the Orioles batted around the order. In the second at-bat of the fourth, center fielder Adam Jones hit a sharp groundball up the middle that shortstop Jose Iglesias stopped, but he was unable to get the flip to second baseman Andrew Romine. The Tigers nearly recorded another out on a check swing by Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy with two strikes to batters later, but the first base umpire said he didn’t swing.

In a full count with the bases loaded, Hardy then doubled to right field, which scored two runners. Verlander seemed to pitch around Travis Snider in the next at-bat in order to face the right-handed second baseman Jonathan Schoop with two outs. If Verlander did indeed pitch around Snider, that decision came back to bite him as Schoop hit a three-run bomb.

Verlander finished with seven runs allowed on eight hits, one walk, four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. It was his shortest outing of the year.

Just like against Toronto, the biggest hits for Baltimore came against Verlander’s fastball. Schoop and Jones each had homers on inside heaters, and Hardy’s double came on a high fastball on the outer half of the plate.

This latest disastrous start pushes Verlander’s season ERA to 6.62 in six starts. He has yielded six runs or more in three of those six outings.

Although it’s hard to be worse than what Verlander was on Sunday, the offense for Detroit wasn’t much better. The Tigers had 14 hits, but they stranded 13 men on base.

First baseman Marc Krauss finally snapped the Tigers 10 innings of no base runners in the third, but Orioles catcher Matt Weiters promptly picked him off first base. In the same inning, second baseman Ian Kinsler got himself ejected when he tossed his bat back towards home plate after he flew out to center.

Starting third baseman Andrew Romine moved to second and Nick Castellanos was inserted into the game to play third, but Castellanos didn’t finish the game. He left after taking a hard grounder off his face in the fifth.

Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes also left the game in the eighth with an apparent leg injury.

Iglesias was the only standout for the Tigers offensively on Sunday. He was 4-for-4 and scored all three of the Tigers’ runs. Cespedes and designated hitter Victor Martinez also each had two hits.

Detroit will welcome the Seattle Mariners to town on Monday for a four-game series.

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