Orioles get off to fast start but lose to Tigers, 6-2, as bats go silent; Watkins finally pitches in Detroit - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles get off to fast start but lose to Tigers, 6-2, as bats go silent; Watkins finally pitches in Detroit

Photo credit: Rick Osentoski-USA Today Sports

With two wins in the first three games of their series against the Detroit Tigers, the Orioles got off to a strong start on Sunday. Austin Hays doubled on the first pitch of the game, Trey Mancini followed with a deep fly to right-center that allowed Hays to move to third, and Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander hit back-to-back doubles to center.

Two runs, three doubles, four balls hit hard. Unfortunately, that was the end of their offensive production for the day.

The Orioles didn’t score again in a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park that gave them a split of the four-game series.

Spenser Watkins (2-2) started against the team that drafted him in the 30th round. After not advancing to the major leagues, he signed with the Orioles earlier this season.

“Incredible, incredible,” Watkins said about pitching in Detroit. “To have that opportunity finally to get there after seeing it from the outside was incredible. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do it in the orange and black. It was an incredible feeling, a lot of emotions early on, but I had to wrangle those in in the first inning …  after that I felt comfortable.”

Watkins had a 2-0 lead to work with when he took the mound. However, after Santander’s double , the Orioles (37-67) produced  just two more hits. Santander singled in the third and Mountcastle singled in the eighth.

“It’s disappointing. We came out swinging the bats in the first inning right away,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We didn’t do much after that offensively.

“We came out swinging the bat extremely aggressively early in the count and drove a few balls early in the first and then we continued to stay aggressive early in the count, and we made a bunch of easy out, quick innings. They made better pitches following that top of the first, but we gave a lot of at-bats away in the second inning on just by a lot of weak contact, weak fly balls, choppers to the left side-type at-bats the rest of the game.”

Watkins got two quick outs in the first. He walked Robbie Grossman and Miguel Cabrera on close pitches. Jameir Canderlario hit a ground ball that deflected off first baseman Trey Mancini, and Candelario was safe at first as Grossman scored. Eric Haase doubled, bringing Cabrera and Candelario home for a 3-2 Detroit lead.

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“The ball didn’t bounce our way today,” Hyde said. “He got squeezed on the Grossman walk. That would have been three outs, and then that ball to Trey hit something and shot up the opposite way, a bad luck bounce right by the back.”

In the sixth, Grossman tripled with one out. After Conner Greene replaced Watkins, Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly to score Grossman.

“The pitch count in the first inning didn’t give me an opportunity to fully finish that last inning,” Watkins said. “My pride [comes] in eating innings, and to [finish] those innings, and keep my pitch count low.”

Watkins allowed four runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and gave up the two first-inning walks.

“That’s part of this game,” Watkins said of the ball four calls. “It’s a judgment call. That’s up to the umpire on what he’s feeling that day. I’ve got to do a better job of getting into the count earlier than 3-2.”

Detroit (51-57) added on in the seventh when Harold Castro led off with a double, and Grayson Grenier singled. Keegan Akin, who was activated off the Covid-19 injured list before the game, allowed a run-scoring single to Harold Castro with one out. After Schoop singled to load the bases, a sacrifice fly by Grossman scored Grenier for Detroit’s sixth run.

Tyler Alexander started and allowed two runs on four hits in four innings . Erasmo Ramirez (1-0) pitched two spotless innings. José Cisnero, Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto pitched shutout innings to end it.

Notes: The Orioles open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. Jorge López (2-12, 6.19 ERA ) will face Andrew Heaney (6-7, 5.27). … Centerfielder Cedric Mullins didn’t play. It was just the second game he’s missed this season. Mullins has a 10-game hitting streak. … Second baseman Domingo Leyba was hitless in three at-bats. He’s in an 0-for-18 slump. … Catcher Austin Wynns was 0-for-2, and he’s hitless in his last 13 at-bats. … Hays’ double broke an 0-for-15 skid.

Call for questions: I’ll be answering your Orioles questions later this week. Please leave them in the comment box or email them to: [email protected].

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Buzz1979

    August 1, 2021 at 4:56 pm

    2 teams, rebuilding, with the Orioles probably having more prospects, yet the Tigers have won 14 more games? That must have something to do with the manager!!!

    • Nellie

      August 1, 2021 at 7:05 pm

      More prospects? Really? Start naming them.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 1, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      What the buzz?

      Maybe the difference is that the Tigers bring their better prospects along a little more quickly.

      • Buzz1979

        August 1, 2021 at 7:32 pm

        They do not have the penny pinching Grinchelos family running things, true!

    • dlgruber1

      August 1, 2021 at 7:19 pm

      Buzz, I think it has more to do with the competition than the manager. I’m thinking if Baltimore and Detroit swapped managers before this season began their respective records would be just about what they are now. It’s very easy to blame Hyde but I’ll save that until he has a team that is more on a level playing fiend talent wise than his opponents. I’m guessing it’ll be amazing how much better a manager fans will perceive him to be when the talent level matches that of his opponents.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      August 1, 2021 at 7:35 pm

      The tigers also don’t play in the AL East

      • Buzz1979

        August 1, 2021 at 8:10 pm

        Could be a LARGE factor!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 2, 2021 at 8:34 am

        Waaaaahhhhh….

        Would you want to play in another division?

    • dlgruber1

      August 1, 2021 at 9:16 pm

      That was my point in saying it could be the competition. The AL East is, with the possible exception of NL West, the best division in MLB.

    • OhMy!

      August 2, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Tigers started their rebuild one year before the Orioles did, that might have something to do with the difference in their records. Or the fact that the Orioles play in the AL East while the Tigers play in the AL Central. Pretty sure the Os and the Tigers just split a 4 game series, must have something to do with the manager!!!

  2. Puyerunner

    August 1, 2021 at 6:01 pm

    Spencer Watkins deserved better. But I like his no excuses attitude. This guy’s a keeper!
    Santander didn’t seem to have his head in the game in RF. You have to know who’s on base, their speed (or lack thereof), what you’re going to do on a fly/ground ball. And hustle!
    We fielded a weak lineup and followed it up with our weakest pen. As if we really just wanted to get out of Detroit or were thinking ahead to the Yanks. I always wanted to win the game I was playing. Too old school?

    • Birdman

      August 1, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      Fry, Tate, and Sulser had pitched on both Friday and Saturday nights, so Hyde had limited bullpen options for a Sunday afternoon game.

    • Icterus fan

      August 1, 2021 at 8:52 pm

      I brought this up about Santander from an earlier game in this series. I attributed his tentative play at that point to his bum ankle.
      The guy seems somewhat disinterested at most points in the game, but he can hit.
      Hopefully he gets rested over the winter and can display all those tools next year.

  3. Buzz1979

    August 1, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    Our old buddy Armstrong took the loss for Durham today vs Norfolk!

  4. CalbuytheOs

    August 1, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Another game of watching our weak-hitting middle infielders doing belly flops going after ground balls. Used to be ground balls were outs against the O’s. Now they’re potential doubles. Any idea if this organization is trying to address this at the minors level? I’d guess the pitchers would appreciate it.

  5. Orioles20

    August 2, 2021 at 12:17 am

    I didn’t think Watkins pitched that bad. He was getting squeezed in the a bat to grossman which led to the misplay by Mancini. That ball must’ve took a wicked hop on him or something. Watkins did exactly what he’s supposed to do which is keep us in the game. If Greene and akin were able to do anything we could’ve maybe actually made the game competitive.

  6. musicmanjr

    August 2, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Orioles are playing a more entertaining brand of baseball lately. Still wonder if I’m the only one who is disgusted with Hyde pulling Spenser Watkins after he retired 14 consecutive Tigers. Spenser was pitching his heart out against the organization that didn’t promote him.

    Hyde pulls Watkins after Cabrera’s hit. You could see the anger on Watkins’ face in the dugout. Of course the move backfired. Hyde consistently makes bad choices with his pitching changes. Please don’t tell me that he’s part of The Process.

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