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2014 ALDS: Baltimore Orioles Pull Away From Detroit Tigers For 12-3 Win

The Orioles’ offense exploded in the eighth inning to win Game 1 of the ALDS over the Detroit Tigers.

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For 7 1/2 innings, the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers were involved in a close Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday. Clinging to a 4-3 lead, however, Baltimore pulled away with a big eighth inning scoring, appropriately, eight runs, on their way to a 12-3 win.

The game was largely controlled by the long ball. Six of the first seven runs in the game came via home runs as the Orioles and Tigers accounted for a total of five bombs. Ironically, Baltimore’s outburst in the eighth didn’t feature even a single long ball.

While Detroit’s bullpen should get much of the blame for the disappointing loss (relievers Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, and Phil Coke gave up seven runs in only 2/3 of an inning), Tigers starter Max Scherzer didn’t do his job, either. Entering the game with an ERA of only 3.15, the starter was lit up for five earned runs on seven hits in his 7 1/3 innings. Bad starting pitching plus an equally rough night from the bullpen makes it nearly impossible to win — particularly in the postseason.

Nelson Cruz led the way offensively for Baltimore but had plenty of help. Cruz was 2-4 with three runs batted in and clubbed a first-inning home run off of Scherzer to give the Orioles the early lead. Nick Markakis, Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce, and Jonathan Schoop all had multi-hit games and combined for five runs batted in.

The Orioles have the early series lead, but things won’t get much easier for the team. Baltimore has a tough task in facing Detroit’s rotation, which includes three Cy Young winners in Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and David Price. The presumed No. 4 starter, Rick Porcello, is also having a strong year with 15 wins and a 3.43 ERA. The Orioles, however, got past arguably the team’s best starter this season and have given themselves a chance in this series with the opening win.

While Scherzer floundered, Baltimore starting pitcher Chris Tillman, had an easier time. Tillman only went five innings and gave up back to back home runs to Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez in the second inning. Other than that, however, he was solid. The Orioles’ starter didn’t allow any other earned runs while striking out six and walking only one, and overall, outpitched Scherzer.

The key for the Orioles will be to continue to get effective starting pitching. Their rotation isn’t nearly as complete as that of the Tigers and, as of Thursday afternoon, while Detroit had laid out its rotation for the first four games, Baltimore was undecided past Friday night’s Game 2.

Game 2 will be in Baltimore on Friday and feature a starting pitching matchup of the Tigers’ Justin Verlander opposite Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen.

 

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