V. Martinez takes Brach deep in 8th
DETROIT — Victor Martinez led off the eighth with a home run off Brad Brach, and the Orioles’ comeback at Comerica Park on Friday night went for naught.
The Detroit Tigers opened the critical weekend series with a 4-3 win over the Orioles, drawing even with them for the second American League wild card.
“I tend more to give Victor Martinez credit,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s been doing that to a lot of guys.”
The Orioles fell to 76-64, slipping three games out of first place in the AL East after the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays. Brach (8-3) has a 4.67 ERA over his past 18 appearances.
Orioles starter Kevin Gausman gave them a “grind-it-out” start, but the Tigers struck twice off him. Right fielder J. DMartinez scored on a double by third baseman Erick Aybar in the third inning, and Martinez drove in two runs with a bases-loaded, two-out single in the fifth. O’s claw back late: There wasn’t much happening for the Orioles offensively against rookie Michael Fulmer until second baseman Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer over the Tigers bullpen in left field to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the sixth inning.
Left fielder Hyun Soo Kim legged out a bloop double to left with one out in the eighth, then gave way to pinch-runner Michael Bourn, who scored on Adam Jones’ single that leveled the score at 3. In the bullpen: The Orioles’ bullpen plan seemed to change frequently as the game progressed. In the fifth inning, it was Tommy Hunter warming up. He sat in favor of Mychal Givens when Gausman returned for the sixth inning, and Givens ended up pitching a scoreless seventh.
After Givens, closer Zach Britton was up to get work and presumably pitch the eighth inning with a one-run deficit. The RBI single by Jones meant Brach got up to pitch the eighth. Kim robbed twice: Kim began trotting to first base after a 3-1 pitch that was outside but was deemed a strike by plate umpire Joe West. On the next pitch, Kim sent left fielder Justin Upton to the wall, where he had to reach over the home run line to record the inning’s final out. A laser by Trumbo: Right fielder Mark Trumbo usually hits lasers over outfielders’ heads, but instead launched a throw from the outfield grass in the third inning to cut down Ian Kinsler at the plate.