The Orioles opened a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, hoping that their 7-4 record since the All-Star Game reflected a team going in the right direction. But they fell back on some old ways Thursday night with their lack of patience at the plate.
Detroit’s top young starter, Casey Mize, allowed just an unearned run in seven innings as the Orioles lost to the Tigers, 6-2, at Comerica Park. Mize (6-5) was backed by two home runs by Miguel Cabrera, who has 497 in his career.
Orioles starter Alexander Wells (2-1) gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings, walking three, striking out four and committing an error on a pickoff throw.
It was his second major league start. On July 21st at Tampa Bay, he was a late choice when Keegan Akin was placed on the Covid-19 injured list.
“I was aching to get out on the mound tonight with those days off,” Wells said. “Now, hopefully, get into that five-day routine and be on a more consistent routine and get back to what we were doing in Norfolk and get ready for my next start.”
The Orioles (35-66) appeared to get off to a quick start. Cedric Mullins began the game with a triple. After he stayed put when Austin Hays grounded to third, Mullins tried to score on Trey Mancini’s grounder back to Mize.
Mullins was tagged out in a rundown, and the Orioles’ best chance for a lead was gone. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde considered it an early turning point.
Detroit (50-55) scored two runs in the first. Former Oriole Jonathan Schoop’s single scored Rule 5 choice Akil Baddoo. A sacrifice fly by Eric Haase scored Schoop.
“I’ve got to be better early on in the game,” Wells said. “Coming off my start in Tampa, I had a long first inning there, and a long first inning tonight, so I’ve got to be better coming out early and having a shutdown inning in the first.”
Haase’s second RBI single scored Schoop in the third, and Cabrera hit his ninth home run in the fifth to give the Tigers a 4-0
“I grew up watching him play, so I got a little starstruck when he got into the box and the crowd was cheering,” Wells said. “I know my job was to be locked in, just like any other hitter in the box, but that’s pretty cool to face a guy like that.”
Hyde thought Wells battled.
“He got off to a tough start there in the first after we didn’t score with a runner on third and nobody out,” Hyde said. “That set the tone. It wasn’t a good start for us, but then he settled in OK, got through five innings. I thought they were aggressive and it played into Wellsy’s hands. He went five innings for us and kept it close.”
Ryan McKenna, whose bases-loaded walk drove in the winning run on Wednesday night, scored the Orioles’ first run in the seventh when Baddoo’s throw home was wild.
Cabrera’s 497th home run against Adam Plutko in the seventh and Jeimer Canderlario’s RBI triple gave Detroit a 6-1 lead.
Mullins scored on a wild pitch by José Cisnero in the eighth.
Mize was the first overall choice in the draft in 2018.
“That’s what [number] 1’s look like,” Hyde said. “He’s got good aggressiveness in the strike zone.”
McKenna had two of the Orioles’ four hits.
“I’m disappointed in our approach,” Hyde said. “Casey Mize has a really good arm and pretty good stuff. He really throws the ball in on right-handers. I think for the most part, our approaches have been pretty good and getting better, but tonight, we were chasing balls up and in.
“Something he likes to do is crowd hitters. A lot of jammed balls to the right side. We didn’t do a very good job off him. Hats off to him. He pitched well. He’s got a really good arm. He got taken in the draft where he did for a reason.
“That first inning, Mullins’ triple, then we swing at two balls in that you can’t use the middle of the field on. That just set the tone for the evening.”
Minor League update: Triple-A Norfolk was held to four hits in its 8-2 loss to Durham.
Claudio Custodio (1-2) allowed two runs in four innings. Eric Hanhold gave up three runs while retiring just one batter.
First baseman Patrick Dorrian homered twice and centerfielder Zach Watson also homered as Double-A Bowie beat Richmond, 5-4
Dorrian has 15 home runs this season. In his first rehab game with the Baysox, Richie Martin led off and played shortstop and was 1-for-4.
Third baseman Jacob Westburg hit his second home run in as many nights as High-A Aberdeen lost to Bowling Green, 5-3. The IronBirds had just four hits.
Connor Loeprich (0-2) allowed five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Low-A Delmarva scored four runs in the eighth in the ninth in a 6-4 loss to Fredericksburg.
Rightfielder Cristopher Cespedes and third baseman Yorkislandy Alvarez each had two hits.
Noah Denoyer (5-4) and Jensen Elliott each gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings.