DETROIT — The strangeness of a matchup between the two worst teams in baseball on Friday the 13th with a full moon hanging in the Detroit sky came to the forefront one batter into the Orioles’ four-game series with the Tigers.
Jonathan Villar cued Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann’s sixth pitch up the first base line, where the ball rolled slightly into foul territory, back into fair play and all the way down the line into the bag untouched for a leadoff single. Villar advanced on a steal, groundout and Trey Mancini single to score the first run. The next batter, Dwight Smith Jr., bounced a grounder to the right side that hit Mancini between first and second, meaning two of the Orioles’ first three hits made contact with either a base or base runner.
The oddness settled in from there, with the Orioles holding on for a 6-2 victory to open their visit to Comerica Park. The win pushed the Orioles to 4 ½ games ahead of the Tigers in the standings, meaning they are guaranteed to leave Detroit with the home team still holding the worst record in baseball.
The Orioles (48-99) also pushed themselves beyond their 2018 win total with 15 games left in the season, though Manager Brandon Hyde and Mancini have both stated such a feat isn’t worth celebrating.
Instead, the Orioles can cherish a night in which they quieted the Tigers (43-103) with crisp defense behind starter Aaron Brooks, who carried a shutout into the sixth before a bullpen that has been the best in baseball for more than three weeks backed him up.