Free baseball (O’s lose 4-3 in 11th)

Nine innings aren’t enough tonight. The Orioles and Tigers are headed for extras.

Jim Johnson really is the closer. He’s not as effective in non-save situations.

Johnson recorded saves in seven of his last eight appearances before tonight. The exception came on Saturday, when he allowed a run in a 6-2 victory over the Angels.

That was the only run off Johnson in his last eight outings.

He ran into trouble tonight with the score tied, 3-3, in the ninth. Miguel Cabera singled with one out and Johnson issued an intentional walk to Alex Avila with two outs and first base open. Jhonny Peralta took a called third strike to kill the rally.

Johnson threw 25 pitches. I’ve gotten used to him needing only nine to complete his task.

Alfredo Simon won’t get the win, but he turned in a quality start by holding the Tigers to three runs and six hits over eight innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He threw 105 pitches, and his fastball was still reaching the mid-90s in his final inning.

If only he could pitch like this on a more consistent basis. It’s not like the rotation couldn’t use him.

Simon had one career start against the Tigers before tonight. He allowed four runs and a career-high 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings on Aug. 12.

Update: Victor Martinez took two strikes from left-hander Zach Phillips and lined a single into left field to score pinch-runner Danny Worth and give the Tigers a 4-3 victory in 11 innings.

Willie Eyre issued a leadoff walk to Brandon Inge, which led to the Orioles’ downfall.

A leadoff walk. A two-strike hit.

At least it didn’t come with two outs.

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