During the series-opening game last night, the Orioles offense was quiet and missing the longball. But it returned for the Orioles tonight at Comerica Park. And they had a rejuvenated Matt Harvey back on the mound also.
Harvey posted a third straight stellar outing as the Orioles beat Detroit 4-3 to even the four-game series at one win each. The Orioles (36-66) have won five of their past seven and are 8-5 since the All-Star break.
Harvey’s scoreless streak to begin the second half grew to 18 1/3 innings tonight as he recorded his 50th career win.
But this game almost got away from the Orioles late tonight. Down 4-0, Detroit scored three runs in the last of the eighth. Tanner Scott came on and allowed a triple and wild pitch to score one. Detroit loaded the bases against him with no outs on an infield single, hit-by-pitch and walk. Miguel Cabrera blasted a 422-foot sac fly that had the look of a grand slam off the bat. That made it 4-2, and later Dillon Tate issued a wild pitch for a 4-3 game. But he got Zack Short to line out with two on and two out as the O’s survived that inning with the lead.
Cole Sulser pitched a drama-free, 1-2-3 last of the ninth to get his fourth save in five chances this year and wrap up the narrow win.
Earlier, Harvey went 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits, five singles and a double, with no walks and five strikeouts. Harvey, who had an ERA of 7.70 when the first half ended, improved to 6-10 with a 6.20 ERA after his 81-pitch outing. He gave the Orioles their 19th quality start of the year and his third in a row. It his longest outing since he went seven on April 28, 2019 for the Los Angeles Angels against Kansas City.
Harvey got into his first jam in the last of the third, allowing two singles around a popout to start the frame. But then he got back-to-back groundouts to strand two with second baseman Pat Valaika making a nice play to his left to end the inning. Harvey was at 35 pitches through three. He stranded a one-out double by Miguel Cabrera in the fourth, and when he retired the side in order in the sixth was at 73 pitches to get the first 18 outs.
Harvey’s second half started with a pair of six-inning scoreless outings against Kansas City and Washington. In those games he allowed just four hits and one walk as the Royals and Nationals hit just 4-for-40 against him.
Tonight he coasted into the seventh with a 4-0 lead. But he gave up leadoff singles to Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario. After he got Eric Haase to line out, manager Brandon Hyde went to the bullpen for lefty Paul Fry, a Michigan native.
Fry kept the Tigers off the board, getting a popout and strikeout as the Birds took a 4-0 lead to the eighth.
The Orioles streak of hitting two or more homers in a game ended at six in a row on Thursday night. But tonight, they got one each in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 3-0 lead.
Pedro Severino, who hit a three-run homer Wednesday night in Baltimore against Miami, hammered one to give the club a 1-0 lead in the third. It was his first of two tonight. Leading off the inning, he snapped the 0-0 tie with a 442-foot blast to center off lefty Tarik Skubal. He crushed a first-pitch 93 mph fastball for homer No. 7, which was hit 108 mph off the bat and was the longest homer he has hit this season.
With one out in the fourth, Ryan Mountcastle gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead. He worked the count full and then lined a homer just over the right field wall on the seventh pitch. It was No. 17 for Mountcastle, which ties him with Cedric Mullins for second on the team, two behind Trey Mancini.
Severino delivered again in the O’s fifth, and again it was a leadoff homer. This time he got a 1-1 slider over the outer half and pulled it over the wall in left-center. That made it 3-0 Orioles. For Severino, his second homer of the night and third in his last two games. He also has hit five home runs over his past 13 games and 45 plate appearances.
They didn’t hit one out, but they did score again the sixth - their fourth inning in a row scoring a single run. Shortstop Ramón Urías, batting .333 with runners in scoring position, singled in Mancini from second base for a 4-0 lead. Mancini had doubled to start the inning.
Skubal, the Tigers starter, took the loss, allowing seven hits and four runs over 5 2/3 innings. He is now 6-10 with a 4.53 ERA. He had allowed 22 homers coming into this game, allowing 2.0 per every nine innings, and then gave up three more to the Orioles.
The Orioles have optioned pitcher Ryan Hartman, claimed off waivers from the Astros, to Triple-A Norfolk.
Severino on Harvey: “He’s just been working really hard and he’s got a good tempo and he’s executing. And we were mixing up the pitches well down in the zone. So it’s really tough for the hitters to guess which pitch is coming in what situation.”
Manager Brandon Hyde on Harvey: “Just continuing what he is doing, which is really locating well. You know, that slider tonight, I thought, was really good. Working ahead in the count, pitch count was down. Just excellent pitching. Both sides of the plate and keeping sides off balance. Just totally under control.”
Hyde on the eighth inning: “Wasn’t real easy. Little stressful. Lot of traffic. I was just hoping to have Tanner go the eighth and Dillon have the ninth. We were pitching extremely well. Didn’t quite work out.”