DETROIT – Just for good measure, the Oriole was given another golden opportunity. Left-handed Gregory Soto entered the fold in the ninth inning and immediately hit the first two hitters he encountered, then walked on the one-laden bases.
However, once Soto replaced the right-handed Boyle Fest, Baltimore did what Baltimore had done all night—missed the opportunity.
The Orioles left the bases loaded in the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds, a self-destructive trend that led to a 4-2 defeat in the series opening against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
There was never a lack of opportunity for oriole (14-19), only a lack of follow-up. Baltimore cut 14 primary runners — second this season, behind the 15 stranded on April 15 — and made a 1-for-12 run with the runners in the scoring position, with hits from Ramon Urreas and Rylan Bannon the ultimate culprit. Before that, Cedric Mullins was out on the eighth hit and Jorge Matteo on the seventh. They left two runners at the base in the first and second inning, too.
“They have some good guns in the bulls,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I just didn’t get the big hit tonight.”
Jordan Lyles’ offensive tackle was not helped by right-hand man Jordan Lyles, who put in a good performance until the sixth game preventing damage from designated hitter Miguel Cabrera.
If production from Friday night’s Cabrera wasn’t evidence enough, the numbers off the fence in the left midfield should provide the necessary context for the kind of hitter the 39-year-old remains.
They started the evening against the Orioles at 503 and 3,014 – the number of home runs and Cabrera hits he’s hit during his career. By the end of the night, the Tigers star had changed those numbers to 504 and 3016, and continued to soar through the Major League Baseball record books.
Lyles played well with Baltimore for most of his 5 and 2/3 runs, but as Cabrera has done so often in his career – as these numbers prove – two fluctuations helped reveal Lyles’ night.
The Orioles needed length from Lyles, as they knocked out a bowl game against St. Louis as six loyalists combined to cap a 3-2 win. It’s a role that Lyles is proud of, too — Hyde said he didn’t want to quit the game last week, even after entering the eighth inning. He considers himself a role eater, having exited a 180-frame season in 2021.
“It was nice to get a role or two,” Lyles said.
Last week, as Lyles began his first double-header game on Sunday, Lyles provided the length Hyde was hoping to ease potential pressure on the Bulls’ base before a wild ride, allowing two earned runs in 7 and 1/3 innings.
And in the series’ opening game on Friday, Lyles looked well on his way to another deep walk as he rammed through five rounds of one-run ball across 70 pitches. Across the previous six starts, Orioles starters had walked three hitters combined. But Lyle walked each of the first three rounds on Friday, and while he was working around the first two, Cabrera field in the right center grafted Javier Baez into round three.
Lyles settled into the sixth inning, when he hit Cabrera again. Lyles missed the slider, and Cabrera shook him to the left, near the numbers tracking his Hall of Fame career in real time. They changed hands when Cabrera put the Tigers 2-0 ahead to start Lyles in a wobbly sixth place.
“Ideally, down and away [with the slider]Lyles said. “He’s just kind of dangling the middle, middle, and hats off to one of the best right-hand hitters we’ve seen.”
Lyles rebounded with a penalty kick, then allowed singles, doubles and one to bring in two more runs to Detroit. Twice in sixth, Hyde pulled Lyles in 91 pitches, countering his offensive line up.
Even with a home run on back-to-back courts in the eighth inning from designated hitter Trey Mancini and right-back Anthony Santander, the Oriol missed key opportunities throughout, a frustrating finish lacking in the big hit.
“We’re promoting really well,” Hyde said. “Tonight, we didn’t get the hit in time, or two of them.”
The road to the hill on Friday at Comerica Park was long overdue for Denny Reyes. It took seven seasons in the minor leagues, first with the Boston Red Sox and then Baltimore.
But the right-hander got the call from the Bulls center on Friday, making two goalless turns and hitting two hits. He said his favorite part was rebounding from a long ball to hit Baez.
As a kid growing up in the Dominican Republic, he dreamed of moments like those. And if Reyes could go back in time and tell his young self anything after his debut, those dreams would be possible.
He would say, “I did it.” “I did it.”
When Mullins and Matthew finished second and third by one increment in the first inning, first base officer Ryan Mount Castle and defensive back Austin Hayes might have stepped onto the next plate. Instead, with both dealing with injuries holding them back on Friday and possibly longer, it was Mancini, Santander and Tyler Niven.
Those three couldn’t drive in these runners, which is the subject of most of Friday’s outing.
Mount Castle (.258) and Hayes (.235) are two of the best Oriole hitters in those positions, and are third and fourth on the team with the two scoring center runners. That’s been a weakness for the Orioles this season, as they entered on Friday posting 0.202 in those positions — the third lowest average in baseball.
With Mountcastle on the injured list and Hays recovering from stitches in his left hand, the Orioles will need to find a way to overcome their massive absences. Mancini and Santander, who came back in eighth place, showed potential, but it was very little and far between.
Baltimore Orioles Insider
Want to be a Insider Orioles? The sun has covered. Don’t miss any news, notes, and information about the Orioles throughout baseball season and beyond.
>> Mountcastle was added to the list of those with a 10-day left forearm strain, retrospectively through Wednesday. Mountcastle said he deals with shooting pain from his thumb to his forearm when he swings and catches a ball.
>> Hayes missed Friday’s game after receiving stitches from a wedge injury on Thursday. Hayes said the stitches require at least 48 hours to heal and will return once the pain subsides.
>> Norfolk’s Triple A player Jehmy Jones has been put on the list of injured people with right elbow inflammation. He got scratched out of Tuesday’s squad and hasn’t played since. Jones scores 0.212 this season in favor of the tides.
Saturday, 4:10 pm
radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM