With seven runs on seven hits in the third inning and a barrage of runs in extra frames, the Orioles needed every one of them Tuesday night in a victory during which their offense overcame a pitching performance that everyone involved is eager to forget.
All told, in their 13-11, 13-inning win over the Detroit Tigers before an announced 25,109 at Comerica Park, they had 20 hits and scored 13 runs, headlined by two home runs by first baseman Chris Davis plus productive nights from designated hitter Mark Trumbo and returning catcher Welington Castillo.
"It was a lot of fun at the very end," Davis said. "But those games are taxing. They’re definitely a lot more enjoyable when you win them, but that’s a tough game to start the series with."
The Orioles’ third inning was a vintage one for such a powerful lineup that hasn’t really clicked in such a way all season.
Seemingly every ball was hit hard. J.J. Hardy’s leadoff home run hung up in the warm Detroit air for a while, but the rest of the hits were stung. Center fielder Adam Jones yanked a double to left field, his first of three hits on the night. Third baseman Manny Machado blasted a ball off the base of the center-field wall that seemed to get there before the fielders even had time to react. He ended with three hits, too.
After an infield single by Trumbo, Davis put together a great piece of hitting to stay on a high-and-away fastball and smash the ball off the wall near where Machado’s hit, scoring another run.
Jonathan Schoop walked to give the second baseman his sixth on the season, and two Orioles scored on a single by Castillo. By then, the Orioles led 6-1, and they added a seventh when rookie Trey Mancini hit a line drive off reliever Chad Bell.
The Orioles didn’t manage much offensively otherwise early in the game — their combined output in every other inning until the sixth was four singles. But it was a showing that manager Buck Showalter and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh have longed for all season.
"We needed to score a lot of runs against a good offensive team," Showalter said.
Three hits for Trumbo: Including his two-out game-tying home run in the ninth inning, Trumbo had a four-hit night to raise his average to .248 on the season.
"Trum’s home run was huge," Davis said. "We were getting down to our final outs. I thought Justin Wilson was throwing the ball really well, so for Mark to hit a home run right there and give us a chance, it was huge."
May has been a better month for Trumbo. He was batting .202 at the end of April, but has hit .322 with three of his five home runs this month.
Davis does extra: With his two home runs in extra innings, including the game-deciding blast in the 13th inning, Davis has four home runs in his past three games to give him eight for the season.
"Tonight, he put some good swings on it," Showalter said. "It doesn’t matter whether left- or right-handed when he’s doing it and he’s in a good spot."
His other came in the 12th inning to stake the Orioles to a temporary lead in that frame. Davis’ three-hit day brought his average to .266.
After Davis' solo home run in the 12th, the Orioles scored runs on a fielder's choice by Hardy and a single by Jones. Hardy drove in three runs on the night.
Welcome back, Welington: In his return from the disabled list after missing two weeks with right shoulder tendinitis, Castillo continued what had been a productive start to his Orioles career.
In the first five innings, he had three singles and drove in a pair of runs to raise his average to .329.
Schoop exits: After striking out in the 12th inning, second baseman Schoop didn't return to the field for the bottom half of the inning. Ryan Flaherty replaced him.
Showalter said it was a leg cramp, to the point that Schoop couldn't straighten his leg. After the game, Schoop's right thigh was heavily wrapped.
Double double-play trouble: The Tigers’ first-inning run off Orioles left-hander Wade Miley didn’t have to happen.
With runners on first and third and one out, Davis fielded a sharp ground ball off the bat of designated hitter Victor Martinez, then stepped on first base.
But Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who opened the inning with a double, broke home from third in just enough time for first baseman Miguel Cabrera to slide back into first base without being tagged for the third out.
The Orioles could have also been out of the second inning on a double play, but after making the out at second base, Schoop threw high to Davis and pulled him off the bag. There was no consequence for that on the scoreboard.