DETROIT – Tigers starter Michael Pineda exited early after a line drive broke a finger on his pitching hand and the Detroit bullpen dominated the rest of the way, teaming on a four-hitter to beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Saturday.
Pineda retired all four hitters he faced, but had to leave after Ramon Urias’ liner broke the middle finger on his right hand in the second inning.
“We don’t know yet if he will need surgery, but he’s going to be out for a while,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We didn’t have everyone available in the bullpen today, but everyone got in line and did what we needed them to do.”
Wily Peralta replaced him, with the game delayed to give him time to warm up.
“I’ve never had to warm up on the mound in my career, and I didn’t really get a chance to figure out what was working,” he said. “I had a couple good fastballs at the end, so I started out throwing those and worked from there.”
Peralta (1-0) set down eight batters and four more relievers finished. Gregory Soto pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Eric Haase and Willi Castro homered for the Tigers, who clinched their first series win at home this season. The Detroit defense also contributed, turning four double plays.
“It’s nice to hit some balls out, because that’s something we haven’t done much early on,” Hinch said. “I think one difference is that it has been 80 (degrees) the last couple days, not 30 like it was in April.”
Bruce Zimmermann (2-2) allowed two earned runs in six-plus innings.
“Bruce threw the ball extremely well – we just didn’t score,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We struggled against what ended up being a bullpen game. Our starters are doing an amazing job, but we’ve got to score some more runs.”
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second when left fielder Ryan McKenna misplayed Jonathan Schoop’s leadoff double, allowing him to reach third. Castro followed with a sacrifice fly.
Haase made it 2-0 with a leadoff homer in the fifth and Castro ended Zimmermann’s day with a homer on his first pitch of the seventh.
Baltimore’s first hit was a single by Tyler Nevin in the fifth, and the Orioles didn’t get a runner into scoring position until Urias doubled off Joe Jimenez in the seventh.
“This was really frustrating,” Orioles star Trey Mancini said. “We experienced a lot of this in the first couple weeks of the season, and now in the last couple days we can’t find holes again. They got some double plays in big situations, which we need to get better at avoiding.”
Eduardo Rodriguez and Tarik Skubal are now the only healthy pitchers in Detroit’s first-choice starting rotation.
“It’s really tough to have four of our starters hurt, because we are so much better when we know all our guys will be out there every fifth day,” Peralta said after Pineda joined Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tyler Alexander on the sidelines. “We’re all going to have to take on bigger roles.”
Tigers: Mize (elbow) was removed from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo after one start and will return to Detroit’s spring-training complex in Florida for further evaluation. Manning (shoulder) is scheduled for one more rehab start in Toledo. … OF Austin Meadows (inner-era infection) took batting practice and could return Sunday.
Orioles: OF Austin Hayes (hand) was able to pinch-run in Friday’s loss, one day after being spiked on the left hand, but won’t be able to swing a bat until Sunday.
The Orioles optioned reliever Denyi Reyes to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled McKenna.
CAN’T FOOL THE MASTER
With two out in the eighth and McKenna on first, Cedric Mullins hit a grounder to Tigers shortstop Javy Baez, who was shifted to the right side of second base. Baez moved to tag Mullins, who stopped and began backing toward first base — a move Baez uses to confuse infielders into chasing him. It didn’t work — Baez simply stepped on second base – but the pair shared a laugh after the play.
The teams finish a three-game series on Sunday, with Baltimore’s Tyler Wells (1-2, 3.75) facing Tarik Skubal (2-2, 2.94).
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