Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Max Scherzer was the first pitcher in the Detroit Tigers' 112-year history to start a season 10-0. In 1909, George Mullin began the season 11-0 for the Tigers. This version has been corrected.
DETROIT — Before Baltimore right-hander Jake Arrieta went out to face the heavy-hitting Detroit Tigers lineup Monday night at Comerica Park, Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said he wanted Arrieta to go into his spot start as if he had nothing to lose.
Arrieta received Monday’s opportunity by circumstance. He struggled in his past two starts at Class AAA Norfolk, but the Orioles needed to fill a hole Monday when right-hander Jason Hammel couldn’t start because of a stomach virus.
But what the Orioles saw was more of the same from Arrieta, flashes of dominance but an overall subpar outing as the Orioles dropped the first game of their three-game series against the Tigers, 5-1, in front of an announced crowd of 32,525.
The 27-year-old Arrieta hadn’t pitched in eight days and gave up 15 combined runs in his last two starts in Norfolk.
Arrieta had previous success against the Tigers, boasting a 1.46 ERA in two previous starts against Detroit, but on Monday, Arrieta couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, pulled after 42 / 3 innings after giving up five runs on 10 hits. Arrieta trailed just three batters into the game after allowing a two-run homer to 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera.
“Didn’t throw enough quality strikes in certain situations,” Arrieta said. “And that’s why they were able to put good swings on certain balls, guys on base. I needed to be better down in the zone. Even though I did throw a lot of strikes, breaking ball was good, change-up was good, that was all good, situationally with the fastball, I didn’t command it down enough and they made me pay for it.”
Despite working Detroit starter Max Scherzer’s pitch count up, the Orioles couldn’t break through against the Tigers right-hander, who became the franchise’s first pitcher since 1909 to start a season 10-0.
Chris Davis hit his MLB-leading 24th homer of the season, launching a solo shot into the right-center field stands.