Instant analysis of Orioles' 12-3 win over Tigers in Game 1 of AL Division Series

Baltimore Sun reporters, columnists and editors share their immediate reaction to Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Orioles and the Detroit Tigers at Camden Yards.

Dan Connolly, reporter: Thursday’s 12-3 Orioles victory was exactly how the club drew it up -- really the way this team has executed things much of the season: Solid enough starting pitching, excellent relief outings and a couple key longballs. And then they piled on against a shaky bullpen. It’s been their recipe for victory all year. And now they’ve got a win in the playoffs.  

Peter Schmuck, columnist: Predicted a 4-2 final, which looked pretty good until the Tigers scored a run in the eighth and messed up my chance to look like a clairvoyant. After that, the Orioles were off to the races, but this was really a classic Orioles performance until the Detroit bullpen blew up. One gritty start. Two home runs. Four innings of solid relief. Same old, same old.

Jon Meoli, reporter: The Tigers quelled no concerns about their bullpen depth with that eighth inning, which made a tense game anything but down the stretch. That eight-run outburst also has the added benefit of getting pretty much everyone in the lineup a touch of confidence heading into a Game 2 matchup with Justin Verlander, and it saved closer Zach Britton if he needs a longer outing Friday. The Orioles played as they always have -- home runs, strong relief pitching, mistake-free baseball -- and won doing it. Can’t ask for more, though they’re fortunate no one was on base for the Tigers’ three home runs. Those could be game-changers.

Childs Walker, reporter: The Orioles can only hope this series comes down to a battle of the bullpens. It certainly did in Game 1, with Andrew Miller doing brilliant work to bridge from starter Chris Tillman to the back of the Orioles bullpen and the Tigers relievers imploding in the eighth inning. Detroit might have more stars, but stars don’t always win in baseball.

Dean Jones Jr., editor: A good first inning by the Orioles to get the crowd into the game. A solid postseason debut by right fielder Nick Markakis. A big home run by designated hitter Nelson Cruz. A steady start by right-hander Chris Tillman. A shutdown performance by the bullpen. An eight-run eighth inning to pull away. Everything adds up to a 1-0 lead in the series with a quick turnaround for Game 2 on Friday.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: The Orioles played the first game to perfection, except for Chris Tillman’s short start. The bullpen had to go deep, but the relievers are used to it. Scoring five runs off Max Scherzer was huge. Winning the first game at a rockin’ Camden Yards could set the tone for the series.

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