Detroit Tigers rookie Tarik Skubal came undone Friday due to three solo home runs by the Baltimore Orioles, resulting in in a 4-3 loss. On Saturday, fellow rookie Matt Manning's downfall was much simpler: A two-out grounder to shortstop with the bases loaded that didn't result in an inning-ending out and led to a 5-2 loss.
Manning showed early command of his pitches and scattered five Baltimore hits over his first five innings of work, with the Orioles' two runs coming on two singles in the third inning and a leadoff homer by Maikel Franco in the fifth.
But he struggled to open the sixth, allowing a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases for Baltimore with one out and bring pitching coach Chris Fetter out of the dugout for a visit. Manning then got Pedro Severino to pop out to Willi Castro, with the infield fly rule in effect. The next batter, Franco, sent a 1-2 pitch to shortstop Zack Short, who made a low throw to Castro at second. Inning over. Except: Castro bobbled the ball, allowing Ryan Mountcastle to score from third and giving the Orioles another at-bat. A single to right by the next batter, Pat Valaika, brought home two more runs and ended Manning's night.
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Meanwhile, the Tigers (50-57) struggled to score for the second straight night, with only a solo home run in the fourth inning of Orioles ace John Means and a run on a bases-loaded groundout in the ninth on Saturday at Comerica Park.
Manning's first run allowed came in the third when Mountcastle launched a full-count slider to center to bring Cedric Mullins home. The Tigers' offense gave Manning some help in the fourth when Eric Haase launched John Means' four-seamer 384 feet to left to tie it at 1-1. The Tigers got just one more runner into scoring position — on a double by Robbie Grossman in the eighth — s over the next four innings. Finally, in the ninth, Baltimore reliever Tanner Scott loaded the bases with Jeimer Candelario (walk), Willi Castro (hit by pitch), and Zach Short (walk) with no outs and Victor Reyes coming to the plate.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde replaced Scott, a lefty, with right-hander Cole Sulser, and Tigers manager AJ Hinch sent lefty Akil Baddoo in to face Sulser. Baddoo, hitting .292 against righties this season, made contact, but it was only a grounder to Mountcastle at first. Mountcastle retired Baddoo at first as Jeimer Candelario scored and the runners advanced to second and third, but that was as far as the Tigers' rally got. Derek Hill struck out looking on a 93 mph fastball and Jonathan Schoop struck out swinging to end the game.
Means gave up four hits, one walk and one run in his eighth start since no-hitting the Seattle Mariners on May 5. He struck out six Tigers over his six innings, with 66 of his 99 pitches going for strikes.
Manning was credited with all five Baltimore runs, though only two were earned.He also allowed seven hits and two walks, with three strikeouts. He was replaced after 93 pitches (61 strikes) by right-hander Joe Jiménez, who walked the first batter he faced but got the final out in the sixth.
Hill's leadoff experiment
Slotting Derek Hill in the leadoff spot didn't go according to plan. Hill struck out in his first-bat and finished 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
Miguel Cabrera proved a slightly better opening in the second with a single to center, the 2,942nd hit of his 19-year career. Haase followed with a strikeout and Candelario with a single for two runners on, but Castro popped out to first and Zach Short struck out swinging to end the threat.
In all, the Tigers left nine runners on while going 0-fior-7 with runners in scoring position.
Manning on the Mound
Manning showed some maturity on the mound throughout the game, working out of a couple jams. With Ramon Urias on third after a single to open the second, Manning threw a 92.9 mph sinker to force a groundout by Franco and end the inning.
Franco's 361-foot homer off a fastball in the fifth was the fourth allowed by Manning over 33 innings this season. Manning then retired the next three batters: Valaika (strikeout), Mullins (groundout) and Trey Mancini (flyout).
Manning's four-pitch repertoire included a curveball, four-seam fastball, changeup, and slider.
"He's shown a lot of maturity each and every start. He had a pretty good feel for his breaking ball today. The only time that he really got beat was (when) he missed some spots by a wide margin and a couple of balls hard but if we make a play behind him right there completed from ballgame
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers, Matt Manning done in by error, fall, 5-2, to Orioles