2014 American League Division Series 2
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|2014 American League Division Series|
96 - 66 in the AL
|3 - 0
90 - 72 in the AL
|1||Detroit Tigers 3 Baltimore Orioles 12||October 2||Max Scherzer (0-1) Chris Tillman (1-0)||5:37 pm|
|2||Detroit Tigers 6 Baltimore Orioles 7||October 3||Justin Verlander (0-0) Wei-Yin Chen||12:07 pm|
|3||Baltimore Orioles 2 Detroit Tigers 1||October 5||Bud Norris (1-0) David Price (0-1)||3:37 pm|
Game 1 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards
|WP: Chris Tillman (1-0), LP: Max Scherzer (0-1)|
|Home Runs: BAL - Nelson Cruz (1), J.J. Hardy (1); DET - Victor Martinez (1), J.D. Martinez (1), Miguel Cabrera (1)|
- Attendance: 47,842
The Orioles took the first game with a runaway 12-3 win over the Tigers, although the game was close until the Orioles feasted on the Tigers' beleaguered bullpen for 8 runs in the bottom of the 8th, putting the game away. On paper, the Tigers had an advantage heading into the contest, with ace Max Scherzer on the mound against the less-heralded Chris Tillman. The Tigers also had their regular line-up, although manager Brad Ausmus decided to start veteran back-up Andrew Romine at shortstop in place of rookie Eugenio Suarez. For the O's, C Matt Wieters and 3B Manny Machado were both out with season-ending injuries and were both limited to throwing the ceremonial first pitch, while 1B Chris Davis was serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive for an amphetamine; however, their replacements, 1B Steve Pearce, C Nick Hundley and 3B Ryan Flaherty had filled in ably during the season. One final change was that late-season acquisition Alejandro De Aza was starting in LF, a position where manager Buck Showalter had cycled a number of different players.
Tillman started the game firing on all cylinders, as he struck out the side in the top of the 1st. For the Orioles, RF Nick Markakis, who had missed the Orioles' appearance in the 2012 Postseason because of an injury, led off the bottom of the 1st with a single to center. Scherzer then hit De Aza with a pitch, putting himself in immediate hot water. He almost got out of the jam when he induced CF Adam Jones to ground into a double play, but DH Nelson Cruz, the American League home run champion, hit a long ball to center and the Orioles were up, 2-0. The Tigers replied immediately, however, as DH Victor Martinez and LF J.D. Martinez led off the bottom of the 2nd with back-to-back homers to right field, and the game was tied, 2-2.
The Orioles took a lead they would not relinquish in the bottom of the 2nd, after Flaherty drew a one-out walk. After a second out, 2B Jonathan Schoop singled to center, placing runners on the corners, and Markakis followed with another single for a 3-2 lead. The game then settled down until the 5th, when the Tigers loaded the bases after two outs, on a pair of singles and a walk, but Tillman got veteran RF Torii Hunter to hit a ground ball to Flaherty at third, and the Tigers were unable to score. In the 6th, Andrew Miller replaced Tillman, who had been forced to throw 105 pitches to get through the first five innings against a very patient Tigers team. He retired the Tigers after issuing a lead-off walk to 1B Miguel Cabrera and got the first two outs in the 7th before Darren O'Day came in to retire Rajai Davis for the final out. The game was still extremely tense at that point, but the Orioles gave themselves a bit of breathing room when SS J.J. Hardy led off the bottom of the 7th with a solo homer off Scherzer.
The Tigers closed the gap in the top of the 8th; 2B Ian Kinsler led off with an infield single, but Hunter immediately lined into a double play as Hardy doubled Kinsler, who was running on the play, off first base. That proved extremely costly for Detroit, as Cabrera followed with a homer to right-center field on the next pitch, which, alas, was only good for one run. Showalter called on his closer, Zach Britton to take over for O'Day at that point, with the O's needing to get four more outs. Victor Martinez promptly grounded out to end the inning. Scherzer was still in the game, and he started the bottom of the 8th by retiring Markakis on a line-out, but De Aza followed with a double. Ausmus now called on his bullpen, which had been a source of trouble all year, and the firemen he used behaved like regular arsonists, although the defense also pitched in as SS Romine committed an error on a ground ball by Jones, the first batter who faced Joba Chamberlain, allowing De Aza to score from second. Jones then stole second base and scored on a single by Cruz. The floodgates were now open. Two more pitchers, Joakim Soria and Phil Coke, would take the mound, but they would allow four hits and a pair of walks and throw a wild pitch before the inning ended as the Orioles ended up scoring 8 runs to put the game completely away. With an insurmountable lead, Britton did not come out to close the game, Tommy Hunter doing the honors instead. It wasn't textbook as he loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but he struck out Ian Kinsler to end the game without the Tigers being able to score any consolation runs. The Orioles' 12 runs in the games were the most in a postseason game in team history, while the 8 runs in the 8th were the most they had scored in a single inning.
Game 2 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards
|WP: Brad Brach (1-0), LP: Joakim Soria (0-1), SV: Zach Britton (1)|
|Home Runs: BAL - Nick Markakis (1); DET - J.D. Martinez (2), Nick Castellanos (1)|
- Attendance: 48,058
For the second straight game, the Orioles victimized the Tigers' bullpen in the 8th inning, this time coming up with a come-from-behind 7-6 win thanks to a four-run rally, to take a 2-0 lead in the series. The Tigers sent Justin Verlander on the mound, who had been tremendous in the postseason in previous years, while the Orioles countered with Wei-Yin Chen. The line-ups were largely unchanged from Game 1, although the Tigers were worried about the health of centerfielder Rajai Davis, bothered by a pulled muscle in his abdomen. The Orioles substituted Caleb Joseph for Nick Hundley behind the plate, this game being played with a 12 noon start following a game the night before.
For almost three innings, the game was a pitchers' duel. Over his first three innings, Chen only gave up a two-out single to 1B Miguel Cabrera in the 1st, while Verlander retired the first eight men he faced. However, he allowed a single to 2B Jonathan Schoop with two outs in the 3rd and RF Nick Markakis followed by lining a pitch into the right field stands, a home run that was confirmed after a video review as it barely cleared the top of the bullpen wall, for a 2-0 lead. The Tigers came back immediately, however. RF Torii Hunter led off the top of the 4th with a single, and Cabrera followed with a double that barely stayed in the park, putting runners on second and third. Next up, DH Victor Martinez singled for a run and LF J.D. Martinez followed with a three-run homer to left. The Tigers weren't done though, because on Chen's next pitch, 3B Nick Castellanos also homered. It took only 10 pitches to record the 5 runs, so Buck Showalter had not even had time to warm up a reliever. Chen got a couple of outs, but Davis lined a pitch into the left field corner. This would normally have been an easy double for the speedster, but it was clear something was physically wrong when he stopped at first base; he gave way to pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera while Chen was replaced by Kevin Gausman, normally a starter. Carrera immediately stole second base, but the hard-throwing Gausman struck out 2B Ian Kinsler to end the inning. The Tigers were up, 5-2.
The Orioles did not panic however. CF Adam Jones led off the bottom of the 4th with a single and after a couple of outs, scored on a single by SS J.J. Hardy to cut the lead to 5-3. In the 5th, Hunter led off with a single for the Tigers, but 3B Ryan Flaherty made a diving stop on Cabrera's ground ball and started a fantastic double play. Gausman was clearly energized by that great play and began throwing absolute gas, striking out four of the next five men he faced, on his way to retiring the Tigers in order all the way until the end of the 7th. Meanwhile, Verlander pitched a scoreless 5th, but was already over 100 pitches when he allowed a lead-off single to Nelson Cruz in the 6th on a ball misjudged by Carrera in centerfield. Detroit manager Brad Ausmus decided to replace him, but not with one of his regular relievers; instead starter Anibal Sanchez, who had only pitched one inning since going on the disabled list in early August, came into the game. It was a gamble, but it paid off handsomely, as Sanchez retired six batters in order. After 7 innings, the score was thus still 5-3 for the Tigers.
Gausman began to show signs of fatigue after 3 1/3 excellent innings. He walked Hunter to start the 8th, then allowed a single to Cabrera. Victor Martinez followed by taking a pitch outside the strike zone to deep center, where it hit the fence on a single bounce. CF Jones fielded it perfectly, and relayed to 2B Schoop who gunned down Cabrera at home, although Hunter scored. That second defensive gem would turn out to be extremely important, though. Brad Brach took over for Gausman on the mound and got J.D. Martinez to fly out to right, a ball that would easily have scored Cabrera had he stopped at third base on the previous play. Castellanos also flied out to end the inning, and while the Tigers had increased their lead to 6-3, they had also missed a chance to put the game away.
Now was the time to bring into the game the Tigers' dreaded late-game relievers. Joba Chamberlain started the bottom of the 8th by getting LF Alejandro De Aza on a ground ball, but he then plunked Adam Jones with a fastball on the knee. Cruz followed with a single, then Pearce lined a single to the opposite field, scoring Jones from second, as Chamberlain clearly had no more stuff than in his disastrous outing of the previous night. Out came Joakim Soria, but he walked Hardy to load the bases. Showalter then sent Delmon Young, no stranger to postseason heroics, to bat for 3B Ryan Flaherty; he crushed the first pitch he saw from Soria into the left field corner, clearing the bases, with Hardy making a great slide to tag home just ahead of the throw. Just like that, the Orioles had taken the lead, 7-6, as Camden Yards was sea of orange thunder. The rest was academic; the Tigers had the bottom of the order coming up in the 9th against closer Zach Britton and weer completely over-matched. Pinch hitter Hernan Perez grounded weakly to first for the first out; SS Andrew Romine struck out; and another pinch-hitter, Eugenio Suarez, hit a ground ball to shortstop to end the game.
Game 3 @ Comerica Park
|WP: Bud Norris (1-0), LP: David Price (0-1), SV: Zach Britton (2)|
|Home Runs: BAL - Nelson Cruz (2)|
- Attendance: 43,013
Orioles manager Buck Showalter thought long and hard about whom his Game 3 starter would be, first naming Miguel Gonzalez, then deciding to go with Bud Norris, who was making his postseason debut. It turned out to be an inspired choice, as Norris was outstanding in pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings. For Detroit, there was no such hesitation: they had made a big move at the trading deadline to acquire ace starter David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays precisely to start the third game of the postseason behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Price was good too, but not good enough, as the two runs he gave up in 8 innings would prove enough for the Orioles to win the game. Another effect of the trade, however, was that Detroit had had to give up their very good centerfielder, Austin Jackson, in order to obtain the trading chips to land Price; Rajai Davis had taken over for Jackson and played well over the final two months, but he was unavailable today after being removed in the middle of Game 2, and the Tigers were left very thin on the ground, with utility player Don Kelly having to start in center. With a lefthander on the mound, the Orioles put Game 2 hero Delmon Young in left field in place of Alejandro De Aza, taking a defensive hit to put another righthanded bat in the line-up.
The first five innings were dominated by pitching as neither team could score with both Norris and Price pitching very well. The Tigers had the best chance in the 3rd, when Kelly led off with a single then stole second base with one out but he was caught in no-man's land on RF Torii Hunter's grounder to SS J.J. Hardy and was thrown out heading back to second base. 1B Miguel Cabrera followed with another ball hit to Hardy, but this time the Orioles' usually sure-handed shortstop threw the ball into the outfield while trying to force out Hunter at second base, and the Tigers had runners on second and third with two outs. DH Victor Martinez could not punch them through, however, flying out softly to CF Adam Jones.
Kelly's hit would be the last given up by Norris, while the Orioles got to Price in the top of the 6th. With one out, Jones hit a single. DH Nelson Cruz then stepped up, and he confirmed his role as the Birds' man of the big occasions in 2014, hitting a ball down the right field line that just stayed fair inside the foul pole for a two-run homer. It may not have been a tremendous blast, but it was a huge blow to Detroit's chances, given how well the Orioles were pitching. Price did not give up anything else until he left after 8 innings, but the damage was done. Norris exited the game after walking 3B Nick Castellanos with one out in the 7th, but Andrew Miller completed the inning with no damage and then got the Tigers in order in the 8th, with Showalter deciding to continue with the hot hand rather than ask righty Darren O'Day to come in to pitch, as he would have done in the regular season. Detroit closer Joe Nathan, making his first appearance of the series, set down Baltimore in order in the top of the 9th, setting up a save situation for Zach Britton with a 2-0 lead. He didn't start off well, as Victor Martinez doubled off the glove of LF David Lough, a defensive substitute for Young, and LF J.D. Martinez followed with another double, this one to center, to cut the lead to 2-1. However, Britton got his composure back quickly. He struck out C Bryan Holaday for the first out, then Showalter then made another unusual move, calling for an intentional walk to Castellanos to set up a double play but also putting the potential winning run on base, normally a great no-no. However, the move worked to perfection when pinch-hitter Hernan Perez, batting for SS Andrew Romine, hit a ground ball to third baseman Ryan Flaherty. He started a textbook 5-4-3 double play that ended the game. The Orioles were moving on to the ALCS and surprisingly, for manager Showalter, it was a first-ever win of a postseason series in spite of a long and very successful career as a major league skipper.
|Major League Baseball American League Division Series