After dropping four straight one-run games, including three to the lowest-scoring team in the majors, the Baltimore Orioles came through at the plate time after time Tuesday to end their longest losing streak of the season. Fresh off their longest game since 2013, the Orioles attempt to win in much more efficient fashion Wednesday when they continue a three-game set in Detroit against the struggling Tigers.
Baltimore won eight of its first nine one-run affairs before losing one last Wednesday at Washington and three more over the weekend in Kansas City, bringing an emphatic halt to the momentum it created during a season-high six-game winning streak. The Orioles appeared to be headed toward another setback in Tuesday’s series opener – blowing an early 7-1 lead as well as a three-run edge in the 12th – before Chris Davis’ second extra-inning homer of the night capped a wild 13-11, 13-inning victory. The five-hour, 19-minute slugfest not only sent Detroit to its third defeat in four tries, but it also exhausted both teams’ bullpens as each side used six relievers. Fortunately for the Tigers, Wednesday starter Michael Fulmer has yet to log fewer than six innings this season and has worked at least seven frames in three of his last four outings.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 6.15 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Michael Fulmer (4-1, 2.54)
Jimenez cruised for most of his May 9 outing versus Washington before Adam Lind’s eighth-inning, three run homer left him with a no-decision. The 33-year-old Dominican allowed four runs on five hits in 7 2/3 frames and has been highly inconsistent on the road, pairing 10 2/3 scoreless innings over two appearances (one start) with two other away outings in which he has surrendered 12 runs (11 earned) over 7 2/3 frames. Victor Martinez is 12-for-34 with four home runs against Jimenez, who is 6-11 with a 5.49 ERA in 21 starts versus Detroit.
Fulmer has been dominant through two May outings, collecting a pair of road wins against Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels while allowing a total of two earned runs and 11 hits while striking out 16 over 15 innings. The 2016 American League Rookie of the Year has recorded a quality start in each of his seven turns and is 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his last four outings. Fulmer did not factor into the decision in either of his two starts against the Orioles last year, permitting seven runs (six earned) over 11 1/3 innings.
1. The Orioles’ No. 2-5 hitters (Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Davis) each had at least three hits and went a combined 13-for-26 with three homers, seven RBIs and eight runs scored Tuesday.
2. Detroit OF J.D. Martinez, who reached base six times in the opener, has belted two home runs in two of his last three contests after recording a multi-homer effort once in his first 654 career games.
3. Baltimore C Welington Castillo went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and two runs scored in his first game back following a 14-game absence due to shoulder tendinitis.
PREDICTION: Tigers 6, Orioles 3