Orioles manager Buck Showalter confronted plate umpire John Tumpane this afternoon after both teams received warnings following a Justin Verlander pitch that sailed behind Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Bud Norris was ejected Friday night after hitting Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter. Verlander wasn’t tossed today, and Showalter sought an explanation.
“I’m just trying to figure out the consistency of it,” he said after the Orioles lost 7-5 at Camden Yards. “You get one pitch and they read intent on Bud, and you get one pitch that’s completely obvious that there’s intent there, so why did you issue a warning and not eject him?
“At that point, I think our guys were kind of hoping he’d stay in the game.”
Cruz got his revenge in the fifth with a three-run homer off Verlander, but the Orioles never overcame a 5-0 deficit.
“As skilled as these pitchers are at this level, balls get away from pitchers sometimes,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “Just like I’m sure the ball got away from Bud Norris.”
Said Cruz: “He was dealing before that, so I’m not going to judge anybody. I’m not going to say he threw at me on purpose. He only knows what was in his mind. It is what it is.”
Did the Orioles make an adjustment on Verlander during their five-run fifth?
“I think he helped us make an adjustment,” Showalter said. “Kind of got everybody on a different intensity level after he threw at Nelson.”
The Orioles lost their fourth straight game to match their longest streak of the season. Kevin Gausman allowed five runs and six hits in four innings in his 2014 debut.
“OK. Wasn’t as good as we had hoped, but had a real good first inning,” Showalter said. “Some counts in his favor didn’t make work. He’ll get better. Capable of better.
“We were probably going to take him to about 85 (pitches), somewhere in there. I was hoping to get five or six innings out of him, but couldn’t get there.”
Showalter indicated that Gausman will accompany the team to Kansas City and the club will discuss what’s next for him. A roster move still could be made later.
“We’ll decide between now and tomorrow what we’re going to do next,” Showalter said. “Probably decide tonight or this afternoon before we leave.”
Showalter seemed to believe that his bullpen would be fine on Thursday. He said only Gausman and Gonzalez were unavailable for the series opener against the Royals.
Rajai Davis homered off Gonzalez in the sixth after the Orioles reduced the Tigers’ lead to 6-5.
“I thought the home run that went 7-5 kind of pulled a little air with the momentum,” Showalter said.
“Verlander certainly woke us up a little if we needed waking up, but couldn’t ... You come into it, you know their starting pitching is a real strength and our guys weren’t going to go quietly in the night and kept grinding. Had a chance there to push over the top. You spend so much energy that, like sometimes in basketball when guys have a big deficit to get back into the game. You need that other push to get over.
“Gonzo didn’t implode, but if we just could have gotten some zeros after Gaus’ exit, but that’s a hard lineup to get through.”
And finally, Showalter confirmed that Chris Tillman will start Friday night in Kansas City.