Young was expected in the lineup, but the fact he was playing left and Nelson Cruz was the designated hitter was a bit of a surprise. Young had started just 17 games in left this year, and only three in September.
Manager Buck Showalter said Young’s familiarity with left field at Comerica Park — he was a Tiger in 2011 and 2012 — played a part into the decision. The manager said he also didn’t want to potentially lose Cruz’s bat for a defensive replacement, and that wouldn’t occur with Cruz as DH.
“Delmon has played left field as well as anybody. He’s very familiar with this ballpark, a bigger left-field line than other places,” Showalter said. “I don’t want to take Nelson out of the game late in the game if I can help it.”
Young had a ball skip past him in the left field corner in the second inning on Alex Avila’s double, and then made a running catch in the third that wasn’t pretty but ultimately effective. After the Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth on Cruz’s home run, Young was removed in the bottom of the inning for defensive standout David Lough.
Gonzalez OK with waiting
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was supposed to pitch Game 4 of the ALDS, but he won’t be needed since the Orioles clinched in three games.
He knew that would be a possibility, and said before Sunday’s game that he was pulling for his teammates to win as soon as possible, no matter what it meant for him professionally.
“I’m rooting for my boys every time we’re out there,” said Gonzalez, who pitched in the 2012 ALDS versus the Yankees. “There is always going to be more. I’m going to get my opportunity when it comes.”
Around the horn
The last time the Orioles were up 2-0 in any postseason series was in the 1997 ALDS versus the Seattle Mariners. They lost Game 3, but won Game 4 over Mariners ace Randy Johnson. … Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of the Orioles’ Wild Card victory in Texas. That was their first playoff win in 15 years. … Showalter said the organization was in the process of signing Triple-A manager Ron Johnson and Triple-A pitching coach Mike Griffin to 2015 contracts.
Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina contributed.