LAKELAND, Fla. - Left-hander Brian Matusz tamed an impressive Tigers lineup this afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Matusz blanked the Tigers on two hits, walked none, struck out six and hit a batter in four innings. He threw 60 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Matusz’s fastball was 92-93 mph on the stadium radar gun. He hit 93 mph four times in the third inning, when he retired the side in order and struck out Andy Dirks and Austin Jackson. He fanned Prince Fielder and Alex Avila in the fourth.
One of the hits off Matusz was a soft single by Delmon Young with two outs in the fourth.
In his last two starts, Matusz has allowed no runs and five hits, walked none and struck out 10 in eight innings. He blanked the Phillies on three hits over four innings in Clearwater, walking none and striking out four.
These aren’t soft lineups, either.
Pat Neshek has replaced Matusz in the bottom of the fifth. The Orioles continue to lead, 1-0.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander, the reigning American League Cy Young winner and MVP, allowed one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts. He fanned Nolan Reimold and Chris Davis twice.
Verlander gave up a leadoff homer to Endy Chavez in the first inning. He walked Ryan Flaherty in the second, gave up a one-out single to Matt Antonelli in the third and surrendered a leadoff double to Nick Johnson in the fourth.
Update: Chris Davis’ RBI double in the sixth increased the Orioles’ lead to 2-0. Endy Chavez led off with a single.