Saturday, July 19, 2008

Orioles outslug Tigers

Luke Scott belted a walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th off Freddy Dolsi as the Orioles beat the Tigers 11-10. The Tigers should have scored the go ahead run in the top of the 1oth when Placido Polanco doubled (his fourth hit of the game) and Sheffield (three hits on the night) apparently singled him in but the umpire made the wrong call. The throw by center fielder Adam Jones beat Polanco to the plate but Placido clearly avoided the tag. We could dwell on that but the real problem was the pitching.

The Tigers scored six runs in the first inning and another in the second but Nate Robertson and reliever Aquilino Lopez gave it all back and more. The Orioles scored two in the bottom of the first, six more in the third and one in the fourth to take a 9-7 lead. Robertson allowed seven runs on eight hits and 2 1/3 innings and saw his ERA balloon to 5.67. I've been pretty supportive of Robertson but he is having the worst year of his career. Lopez followed by allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in 1 1/3 innings.

The middle relievers did well with Casey Fossum and Fernando Rodney combining for three scoreless innings and the Tigers scored three in the sixth to take a 10-9 lead. Rodney looked about as good as he has since returning striking out three in 1 1/3 innings. Joel Zumaya was striking them out today as well - four in two innings - but he gave up a game tying homer to Ramon Hernandez leading off the ninth. I'm not sure why Jim Leyland left him in to pitch the ninth. It wasn't a terrible move after the 1-2-3 eight by Zoom but I figured Todd Jones would automatically enter the game with a save situation in the ninth.

In addition to the big nights for Polanco and Sheffield, Miguel Cabrera hit a three run homer in the first and Jeff Larish followed two batters later with a two run blast. With Carlos Guillen still at home with his wife and Inge catching, Larish got his first start at third base. He made no egregious errors but did show lack of range on one ball down the line.

The only good news tonight is that the White Sox lost again tonight keeping the Tigers 7 1/2 games out of first. The Tigers will try to salvage a split of the series tomorrow afternoon with Ace Justin Verlander facing Brian Burres.

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