DETROIT -- Despite bone-chilling temperatures, the Tigers had just enough heat to outlast the Orioles on Tuesday night. Backed by a solid start from Francisco Liriano and a two-run home run from Victor Martinez on his three-hit night, Detroit won, 4-2, to take the first game in a three-game series
DETROIT -- Despite bone-chilling temperatures, the Tigers had just enough heat to outlast the Orioles on Tuesday night. Backed by a solid start from Francisco Liriano and a two-run home run from Victor Martinez on his three-hit night, Detroit won, 4-2, to take the first game in a three-game series over Baltimore.
"Good pitching night for us," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We caught the ball pretty decent and [it was] a nice win. Been waiting a pretty good while here to get a win, so it's a nice win."
Liriano was sharp for much of the evening. Despite the cold and a pair of two-out singles in the first, he kept the Orioles' hits limited in the first four innings, allowing only two singles in the first and a solo home run to Trey Mancini in the third. In his five innings, Liriano tallied 10 swings-and-misses against Baltimore, giving up only two runs on the night. His seven strikeouts, two of which came against Chris Davis, were a season high.
The Tigers' 2-1 lead would be broken briefly in the fifth inning, when Baltimore's Adam Jones hit an RBI single to tie the game at 2. However, the inning ended when Manny Machado attempted to take third and was called out, squelching the spark that had been brewing for the Orioles. A dazzling inning-ending grab by Niko Goodrum in the fourth, combined with Liriano's inning-ending strikeout of Danny Valencia in the first with two on, were equally important in limiting the O's damage for the night.
With Liriano putting up a solid start, it was Martinez who gave the offense the spark it needed. The first Tigers hit of the night resulted in a two-run home run for a 2-0 lead, and in the bottom of the fifth, Jeimer Candelario hit a wall-bouncing RBI triple to deep right-center field. That run pushed the Tigers ahead of the Orioles for a 3-2 lead, and a fourth run on a wild pitch in the eighth secured their fifth win of the season.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Goodrum saved a fourth inning that was threatening to go poorly for Detroit. With two batters on and two out, Luis Sardinas smacked a 92-mph fastball to left field, which came within feet of going out. Goodrum's leaping snag not only prevented a run from scoring and tying the game at best, but it also ended the threat and kept the Tigers ahead.
"The wind was tough today," Goodrum said. "It was going all different directions. Sometimes it looked like it slowed down, and then it would push. It wasn't too hard tracking [the ball], it was just trying to play with the wind [to catch the flyout in the fourth inning]."
Liriano's seven strikeouts marked his most in a game since June 14, 2017, when he pitched a seven-inning game with the Blue Jays. Toronto beat Tampa Bay, 7-6, with Liriano allowing only two runs and striking out nine.
MIGGY LEAVES GAME WITH BACK TIGHTNESS
In the ninth inning, the Tigers announced that Jose Cabrera had left the game with lower back tightness. He was replaced by JaCoby Jones at first base. Cabrera was hitless in Tuesday's game, but he drew two walks from the Orioles, both intentional.
After the game, Gardenhire said that Cabrera's back was "just a little stiff" and he simply took Cabrera out of the game due to the cold weather for precautionary reasons.
Left-hander Matthew Boyd will get the start for Detroit against the Orioles' Kevin Gausman on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Boyd has allowed only two runs in his past 13 innings, but he will need to remain sharp, as he has given up six doubles and three home runs to Orioles batters from 2015-17.
Catherine Slonksnis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit.