Orioles take second game from Tigers with small-ball offense

Detroit News

Detroit – Paper cuts sting. Lefty Matthew Boyd took one right after another until he bled out four runs in the second inning Saturday night and the Baltimore Orioles went on to salvage a split in the doubleheader, beating the Tigers 6-4 in the nightcap at Comerica Park.

The Tigers took the first game 7-4.

There were some deeper cuts in this one, but they came later. It was the little nicks in the second inning that put the Tigers on life support.

Jorge Mateo led off with an infield single, the ball leaving his bat with an exit velocity of 67 mph. But once it got past Boyd, second baseman Zach McKinstry had no chance of throwing Mateo out.

Former Tiger James McCann followed with a bloop single to center, 71 mph off the bat.

After Gunnar Henderson flew out to center, Ryan McKenna rolled one through the right side of the infield, RBI single, 94 mph.

Rookie Joey Ortiz knocked in the second run with the hardest-hit ball of the inning, an opposite-field single to right (108 mph).

Austin Hays, a right-handed hitter, cued one off the end of his bat (75 mph). The ball landed on the right field chalk line — RBI single.

Then the salt in the wound, Boyd uncorked a wild pitch to score the fourth run of the inning.

Boyd, stoic as ever, locked back in and set down 13 of the next 14 Orioles hitters. Then came a deep cut.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Boyd walked left-handed hitting Gunnar Henderson. Tigers manager AJ Hinch had just called to the bullpen to get reliever Jose Cisnero up.

Boyd was at 97 pitches after the walk to Henderson. If Cisnero was warm, Hinch likely would’ve pulled Boyd right there. Instead, Boyd faced McKenna. It didn’t go well.

McKenna hit a 91-mph four-seam fastball on a 2-2 pitch into the Tigers’ bullpen in left. The two-run home run made it 6-0 game.

The Tigers, for the second time in six days, were blanked over five innings by Orioles rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez. They managed two hits off him with nine punch-outs.

But they got to the Orioles’ bullpen in the sixth, scoring four times. A walk to pinch-hitter Zack Short, a single by Riley Greene and an error on shortstop Jorge Mateo on a ball hit by Javier Báez led to one run against lefty Keegan Akin.

Then some managerial chess ensued. Hinch sent up right-handed hitting Tyler Nevin to pinch-hit for lefty-swinging Nick Maton. As Hinch might have suspected, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde countered with right-hander Mike Baumann.

Right-handed hitters were 2 for 30 against Baumann this season. Nevin, a former Oriole, had one at-bat against Baumann last week in Baltimore. It seemed advantage Orioles.

Except Baumann left a 2-2 slider up and over the plate and Nevin shellacked it. He hit it 421 feet into the shrubs in dead center — a three-run homer. It was the first pinch-hit home run of Nevin’s career.

That was the first and last gasp by the Tigers. After the split, they fall to 10-16 on the year, 2-13 against teams from the American League East.

Twitter: @cmccosky

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