Norris cools Orioles in stellar Tigers debut
BALTIMORE -- Daniel Norris made his Tiger debut with 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball, supported by an outburst off Ubaldo Jimenez, as Detroit split a four-game series against the Orioles with a 6-1 win Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.
Norris, the centerpiece of the prospect package the Tigers received from Toronto for David Price three days earlier, displayed a Price-like efficiency that belied his early-season stint in Toronto. The 22-year-old left-hander retired 12 batters in a row after Chris Davis' fourth-inning solo homer and needed just 79 pitches to get through seven innings. A Jonathan Schoop single in the eighth ended Norris' afternoon with four hits allowed, a walk and five strikeouts.
"You always want to make a good impression, but you have to be yourself. If you go out there and try to do too much, the wheels can fall off pretty quickly," Norris said. "I thought I did a fine job of staying within myself and just pitching."
Norris took the mound for his first pitch as a Tiger with a three-run lead thanks to J.D. Martinez's first-inning homer. Consecutive sixth-inning RBI hits from Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler doubled that advantage as Detroit roughed up Jimenez (8-7) for the second time in three weeks.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Norris helps his own cause: Norris threw a very good outing in his Tigers debut, but perhaps his biggest highlight came on a diving catch. He scrambled off the mound and stretched out to snare J.J. Hardy's sacrifice bunt attempt with two on and nobody out in the second inning. A pitch later, he escaped with a ground-ball double play.
"I always complain I never get cool PFP [pitchers' fielding practice] plays," Norris said. "When he bunted, I thought, 'I'm laying out for this.'"
More bad than good: In between two bad innings, Jimenez was perfect. For a 12-batter stretch that started with two outs in the first and ended with two down in the fifth, he retired one Tiger after another. Outside of that, though, he allowed six hits, including a home run and a triple, with one walk and all six runs earned. More >
"After [the first inning] I was able to come back and just keep throwing the sinker down and get little ground balls," Jimenez said. "But in the fifth inning, everything went the other way."
No rest on Sunday: Martinez looked questionable for the game after taking a pitch off his knee Saturday night, but he felt enough stability in the knee to give it a shot. He made his day easier with a trot around the bases in the opening inning on a three-run home run, his second homer in three days and his 29th of the season.
Leave it behind: Officially, the Orioles committed one error on Sunday, but they're fortunate there is no official stat for sloppy play. A handful of misplays and mental mistakes, including Matt Wieters allowing multiple bases on a passed ball, Adam Jones breaking in on a line drive over his head and Nolan Reimold hitting a ducking Schoop in the knee with a throw from the outfield, helped contribute to a disappointing finale to an otherwise successful homestand for the O's.
"We had a few miscues on defense, and things that just stacked the odds against us," said Davis who hit his 26th home run in fourth inning. "We continued to battle and put together good at-bats, just came up short."
"He's the type of guy you get back for David Price." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Norris
"The results were obvious. Anyone can look and see how successful he was today and say this kid's good. But what impressed me the most was the process that got the results -- the demeanor on the mound, his poise, the pace that he pitched." -- Tigers catcher James McCann, on Norris
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The first three batters in the Tigers' order combined to hit 26-for-53 (.491) in the four-game series with four doubles, a triple, a home run and eight RBIs. That includes a 12-for-17 performance by Kinsler.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Gose stole second base. Showalter challenged that Hardy's tag was applied before Gose touched second base, but a replay confirmed the safe call.
Jorge Rondon pitched in relief of Jimenez, offering 3 1/3 shutout innings in his Orioles debut. He ended the fifth inning with one pitch and lasted through the eighth, allowing three hits. Rondon had two previous innings of MLB work, one with the Cardinals in 2014 and one with the Rockies this year.
"Jorge was really good today, results-wise," Showalter said. "That was real big for us."
Tigers: Detroit returns home for an off-day Monday before starting a three-game division clash against the Royals at Comerica Park with a 7:08 p.m. ET game Tuesday night. Justin Verlander (1-3, 4.86 ERA) will try to build on his eight innings of one-run, 10-strikeout ball from his last start.
Orioles: Baltimore will hit the road for nine games in 10 days against American League West clubs. On Monday, it kicks off a three-game set in Oakland. Tyler Wilson is getting the callup from Triple-A for a spot start in place of Chris Tillman, who is recovering from a left ankle sprain.
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