Tigers have momentum in series vs. Orioles
Following a rough week, the Detroit Tigers are suddenly feeling pretty good about themselves.
They have collected two victories against the struggling Baltimore Orioles to end a five-game slide. They'll go for the sweep of the three-game series on Thursday afternoon.
Detroit (6-9) needed two comebacks after squandering a 2-1 lead in the eighth on Wednesday. John Hicks hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. After the Orioles tied it in the top of the ninth, Dixon Machado blasted a walk-off homer for a 6-5 victory.
"It's an awesome team win," Detroit starter Matthew Boyd said. "It speaks to our resilience. Things didn't go our way late, and then we battled right back."
The Tigers have scored 31 of their 59 runs this season in the seventh inning or later.
"You can see it and hear it in the clubhouse. It's very exciting winning baseball games," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had some good moments and some down moments that can bum you out. You have two ways to go. You can let it go on or you can do something about it. These guys did something about it today."
Jordan Zimmermann will try to keep the good times going when he opposes Baltimore's Alex Cobb on Thursday afternoon.
It's amazing Zimmermann avoided a trip to the disabled list after his last outing. He suffered a right jaw contusion when he was struck flush in the face by Jason Kipnis' comebacker at Cleveland last week. Zimmermann was forced to leave the game after seven pitches.
Zimmermann (0-0) said Tuesday it took "two or three days" for the swelling to go down. Last week, he told reporters that a prior line drive to the face saved him from major damage against the Indians. He need a couple of plates and 11 screws to repair his jaw in 2007 during his days at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
"I saw it coming for a second and then I felt it and went down," Zimmermann told the Detroit Free Press. "Just felt that all my teeth were there. My jaw wasn't peeled in like it was the first time it happened. I think I got lucky."
Zimmermann is 3-4 with a 5.84 ERA in eight starts against the Orioles (5-13), who have lost five straight and seven of their last eight.
Cobb (0-1) had a forgettable Baltimore debut. He allowed eight runs (seven earned) and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings at Boston on Saturday.
Cobb signed a four-year contract worth nearly $60 million late in spring training, which forced him to play catch-up. He declined a qualifying offer from Tampa Bay in November, which made him an unrestricted free agent. He had a 12-10 record and 3.66 ERA last season. He's 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA in six starts against Detroit.
The Orioles showed some signs of life offensively on Wednesday with four runs in the last two innings. They scored a total of 11 runs in their previous six losses.
"It's such a 'feel' game and it's hard to have that feel," manager Buck Showalter said of playing in cold weather. "I always think these guys with a track record, I trust them and somebody's going to pay down the line. They're frustrated but they're facing good pitching."
Updated April 18, 2018