The Detroit Tigers got a much-needed victory in the opener of their three-game series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
Detroit will look to collect back-to-back wins for just the third time this season on Saturday.
The Tigers needed to get out of bases-loaded jams in the eighth and ninth innings on Friday to notch their second win in the past 11 games.
Will Vest recorded his first career save by entering with one out and three on base, then striking out the next two batters to preserve a 4-2 triumph. The Tigers entered the night having lost four games in a five-game series vs. the Oakland A’s.
“It’s just nice to finish the night with a win, regardless of how we got there,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said.
Miguel Cabrera hit his 504th career homer and had an RBI double for the Tigers, who have the lowest-scoring offense in the majors.
“I know he was pretty ultra focused today,” Hinch said of Cabrera. “We’re trying to get some momentum offensively. We did just enough with some big hits and he sparked us. It didn’t surprise me, but it came at a perfect time.”
Detroit right-hander Michael Pineda (1-2, 3.43 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season on Saturday. Pineda was a hard-luck loser in his outing on Monday, giving up two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings against Oakland. The Tigers have scored six runs in his starts.
He will be opposed by left-hander Bruce Zimmermann (2-1, 2.67), who has allowed two earned runs or less in five of his six starts. Zimmermann held the Kansas City Royals to two runs on six hits and didn’t issue a walk in six innings during a victory on Sunday.
Zimmermann equaled his longest outing of the season vs. Kansas City. His manager was prepared to give him another inning, but the lefty allowed a two-out run in the sixth.
“If he finished that sixth cleanly, he was going to go back out for the seventh,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’m going to obviously see how the game is being played and seeing how he’s doing, but I’d like for him to go deep.”
Zimmermann has exhibited excellent control, walking eight and striking out 30 while giving up just one home run in 30 1/3 innings. It’s a stark contrast to last season, when he surrendered 14 homers in 14 appearances (13 starts) covering 64 1/3 innings.
Zimmermann will oppose Detroit for the first time in his career. Pineda is 6-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 15 career starts vs. Baltimore.
The Orioles created plenty of traffic on the basepaths on Friday but couldn’t get the big hit. They went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on base. Their runs came on back-to-back solo homers from Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander.
Baltimore was missing two of its key position players.
First baseman Ryan Mountcastle was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Wednesday, due to a left-wrist/forearm strain.
“We’re hoping when these days (on the injured list) are up that he’ll be able to come off right then,” Hyde said. “He just wasn’t healing as fast as we were hoping, and with kind of the way we are, a little short, got a bunch of guys banged up, we didn’t want to rush him back. We want to make sure it’s right.”
Outfielder Austin Hays was spiked on his left wrist while running to first base against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. He is questionable to play the remainder of the series.
–Field Level Media