Orioles 6, Tigers 4: A-Boyd-able losses

Bless You Boys

After taking the first of two on Saturday, the Tigers were looking to seize hold of this four-game set with the Orioles. Instead, Matthew Boyd had a bad outing, augmented by a slow hook from A.J. Hinch, and the Tigers fell 6-4 in game two.

Things didn’t get off to a very auspicious start for the Tigers in game two. Matthew Boyd tossed a quick first inning with just a routine single from Adley Rutschman allowed, and Zack McKinstry picked up right where he left off in game one. Things quickly unraveled from there.

The Tigers leadoff man pulled a fly ball just fair down the right field line and cruised into second with a double against Grayson Rodriguez. However Riley Greene then grounded one to shortstop Jorge Mateo and after trying to deke him briefly, McKinstry decided he could outrun him to third base and failed. Javier Báez struck out, while Nick Maton took ball four about a foot above the strike zone, but Edwin Moscoso the home plate umpire somehow called it a strike, and Maton eventually grounded out to end the inning.

The Orioles then spent the top of the second inning jabbing Boyd in the nose over and over again. Mateo singled on a ground ball through the right side. James McCann dumped a blooper into center field, and after Gunnar Henderson flew out, Ryan McKenna smacked another grounder up the middle for a single to score Mateo. Joey Ortiz grounded a single through the right side to score McCann, and Austin Hays dropped a dying quail just fair down the right field line to score McKenna.

Boyd wasn’t hit hard, but his command was lousy and he was unable to reach back for a little extra on the fastball. Instead, it was one of the those outings where he just seems to sleepwalk a bit and can’t find the extra gear when he needs it. With Ortiz now on third, Boyd yanked a slider behind Rutschman which went to the backstop, allowing Ortiz to score, and it was quickly 4-0 Baltimore. Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle both flew out to Akil Baddoo in left to mercificully end a very “death by papercuts” sort of inning.

The Tigers went quickly in the bottom of the second, and Boyd did bounce back with a quick, clean top of the third. He still wasn’t getting ahead of hitters or locating well, but at least he didn’t miss much over the plate and the slider and changeup were sharper. Unfortunately, Grayson Rodriguez was cruising by this point, striking out the side in the third. Boyd finally seemed to find his rhythm and collected three weak pop-ups in the top of the fourth for routine outs.

That was pretty much it for the action for a bit as the Tigers went quietly in the bottom of the fourth. Singles from Mountcastle and Miguel Cabrera went nowhere in the fifth. Rodriguez had everything working and it was obvious why he entered the season as the top pitching prospect in the game.

Boyd got the first two outs of the sixth as his pitch count climbed over 90, but after getting ahead of Gunnar Henderson 0-1, Boyd threw four straight balls to walk him. Jose Cisnero was warming, but A.J. Hinch left Boyd in to face the right-handed hitting Ryan McKenna for the third time, and a 2-2 fourseamer went right down the middle and right onto McKenna’s barrel for a two-run shot to left that basically put this one to bed.

The classic batter too late hook followed, and Cisnero retired Joey Ortiz on grounder to first to end the inning.

Boyd finished with 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, BB, 3 SO…in other words, very bad. The contact was mostly of the seeing-eye variety in the second, but he just didn’t have any extra in the tank when he needed it with runners on base.

The Tigers finally mustered a bit of a threat as lefty Keegan Akin took over from Rodriguez. No doubt they were glad to see the back of the tough right-hander. Zack Short pinch hit for McKinstry and drew a leadoff walk. Riley Greene followed with a single through the right side that moved Short to third. Báez followed with a ground ball to shortstop. Mateo tried to back up on it but ultimately ole’d it into left field. Short scored, and Greene adroitly burned around second to third. That brought the hook on the Orioles side, as right-hander Mike Baumann took over from Akin to face Tyler Nevin, pinch-hitting for Nick Maton.

After an iffy decision to stick with Boyd against McKenna, knowing that Cisnero has been a mess as well, this decision worked out. Nevin crushed a slider up in the zone to straightaway center field, just clearing the wall for a three-run shot. After a rough 1-for-25 start, Nevin’s 26th plate appearance with the Tigers finally found pay dirt. 6-4 Orioles.

The Tigers went quickly in order after the Nevin blast. Just as quickly, Cisnero walked the first two hitters in the top of the seventh. He bounced back after a visit from Chris Fetter to strike out Mountcastle for the first out of the frame. Then he got a little help from his defense as Santander slapped a chopper up the middle and Báez showed off his footwork in corralling it and touching second before firing to first to complete the double play.

The Orioles turned to right-hander Bryan Baker in the bottom of the seventh and was greeted by a ground ball single from Matt Vierling. Ibanez struck out for the third time, and Short lifted a deep fly ball to left center than McKenna ran down. That left it up to Riley Greene as the Orioles again went to the pen for lefty Danny Coulombe. Greene bounced out to second base, and we were on to the eighth.

Jason Foley came on and quickly retired Jorge Mateo on a grounder, and Ryan O’Hearn, pinch hitting for James McCann, on a fly ball foul down the line in left. Henderson ripped a single to left field, but with McKenna at the plate, Henderson was cut down at second trying to steal. Haase’s throw tailed into the runner, but Short made a nice play, diving back into the runner to catch it and tag Henderson in one motion to end the half inning.

Right-hander Yennier Cano came on for the O’s in the bottom of the eighth. He had no trouble retiring Báez, Nevin, and Haase. Will Vest got in a jam with two outs in the top of the ninth, but was able to bear down and get Mountcastle to ground out.

So, we were onto the bottom of the ninth, with the Tigers down two. Orioles closer Felix Bautista came on to handle Baddoo, Cabrera, and Vierling for the save. He didn’t have any trouble doing so. Baddoo struck out, Cabrera flew out to right field, and Vierling followed him with a fly ball down the right field line for the final out.

Notes

Prior to game one, Kerry Carpenter was moved to the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 28, with a right shoulder sprain. Infielder Andy Ibáñez was added to the 40-man roster in Matt Manning’s place as the right-hander was moved to the 60-day injured list with his fractured toe. Zack Short was recalled from Toledo for the 27th man spot in the doubleheader. He will stay on the active roster, with Nevin getting optioned back to Toledo.

Also, with Ryan Kreidler headed to the injured list as well, the Tigers picked up another minor league free agent infielder to help out in the upper minors.

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