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Relive the Orioles' crazy comeback in Game 2 of the ALDS

This is the beauty of baseball: Just 15 hours after the Tigers dropped Game 1 of the ALDS, 12-3, to the Orioles behind a rocky relief effort, Detroit got a chance to even the series. Justin Verlander got the Game 2 start in the Friday matinee at Camden Yards, matching up with Baltimore lefty Wei-Yin Chen.

Verlander, fresh off a down regular season, was looking to pick up where he left off last postseason (one run in 23 innings). Chen, meanwhile, was getting just his second career taste of playoff baseball.

The Highlights

Verlander and Chen were effective through nearly three full innings, with Verlander in particular eliciting lots of weak contact and swings-and-misses. Nick Markakis dashed any hopes of a shutout, though, with a two-out homer to right. A replay review confirmed the call.

Chen was similarly cruising until the Tigers ruined his afternoon, and maybe his night, in the span of three pitches in the fourth inning. Pitch one: A Victor Martinez RBI single. Pitch two: A J.D. Martinez three-run homer to left for a 4-2 Detroit lead -- the Tigers' first of the series.

Pitch three: A Nick Castellanos solo shot.

CastellanosHR

The O's got one run back in the bottom of the third via a J.J. Hardy RBI single, and then Kevin Gausman and Anibal Sanchez -- starters pitching in relief -- stopped the bleeding, for a time.

That ended in the eighth. Victor Martinez doubled to score an insurance run in the form of Torii Hunter, though Miguel Cabrera was thrown out at home (more on that later). Baltimore escaped, trailing 6-3, to set the stage for the game-winning rally.

The O's already scored once when Hardy walked to put the go-ahead run on base with one out. Pinch-hitter Delmon Young took Joakim Soria's first-pitch slider and pounded it to the left-field corner for a bases-clearing double and 7-6 lead.

 

The Game Changer

Say what you will about the Tigers bullpen, but the clubs might still be playing had the top of the eighth inning -- before the Orioles rallied -- gone a little differently.

Miguel Cabrera was thrown out at home trying to score from first on Victor Martinez's double with no outs. Both of the next two Tigers batters hit fly balls to somewhat-deep right field, and there's no telling what a third might have done -- had Cabrera stopped at third instead of pushing his luck with no outs.

CabreraOutAtHome

 

Other Key Players, Plays

A possible harbinger of the fourth-inning destruction wrought by the Tigers bats came at the end of the third. Ian Kinsler lined one up the middle, but Chen ended the inning with a look-what-I-found catch.

ChenCatch

Rajai Davis, who has been nursing a tender groin, singled in the fourth and exited in favor of pinch-runner Ezequiel Carrera. The team announced that he left the game with "tightness."

 

 

Another defensive gem that loomed large as Baltimore charged ahead late: A fifth-inning double play. Ryan Flaherty started the around-the-horn twin killing with a diving stop on Cabrera's grounder. That nifty turn helped Gausman get through the heart of the Detroit order.

FlahertyDP

What's Next?

Now, they go to Detroit. Game 3 will be 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Comerica Park, as the Tigers turn to David Price -- who hasn't had a shut-down postseason outing since he was a reliever for the Rays in 2008 -- to save their season.

Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will go for the O's looking for the clinch. Only five of the 44 clubs who found themselves down 0-2 in a best-of-five-Division Series won three in a row to advance.

AtBat