Orioles vs. Tigers: Baltimore is no match for Justin Verlander


Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez was making just his second big league start. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)
July 15, 2012

The Baltimore Orioles turned in one of their most dramatic victories in recent memory Saturday evening, using two 13th-inning homers, including the game-winner by a backup catcher in his first game with the club, to beat the powerful Detroit Tigers.

On Sunday afternoon, baseball, the cruel game that it is, struck back and extinguished most of those tingly, feel-good moments from the previous night.

The Orioles were shut out, 4-0, by the Tigers’ all-world ace Justin Verlander, dropped another series, learned their best starting pitcher, Jason Hammel, will be lost for at least a month and watched their second baseman, Robert Andino, crumple on the ground in the sixth inning.

“I almost feel like any time we get some momentum — obviously we had a great win [Saturday] — and then we lose Dino today and we don’t know how long. It’s like one thing after another,” said Baltimore’s Chris Davis. “But we got a lot of guys that are capable stepping up. We’ve been doing it all year and we’ve hung around the top still. Hopefully, we can continue to play good baseball and somebody will step up again.”

Mixing his overpowering fastballs with a paralyzing curve, Verlander allowed just two base runners to get to second — Jim Thome in the first and third — struck out eight and walked two.

Thome had three hits — two against Verlander — and Mark Reynolds had a seeing-eye single. Otherwise Verlander (10-5) was unhittable.

And, given Verlander’s mastery, the game was basically over after two pitches.

Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, making his second big league start, served up a home run to Austin Jackson on the second pitch of a muggy afternoon. It was Jackson’s seventh career leadoff home run.

Gonzalez (1-1), who allowed just three hits and one run in his first start July 6, wasn’t as sharp Sunday. He gave up three runs on five walks and six hits in 52 / 3 innings. He left with the bases loaded in the sixth, and Luis Ayala induced a groundout to keep the score close.

Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon for the 30,439 at Camden Yards was the debut of Steve Johnson, who became the Orioles’ first Maryland-born pitcher since John Bale in 2001.

Johnson, the son of former Orioles pitcher and MASN broadcaster Dave Johnson, walked the first two batters he faced, but settled down after that. He struck out his last two batters in the eighth and gave up just one hit — a mammoth homer by Miguel Cabrera in the ninth.

— Baltimore Sun

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