A close series for the most part that ends in a sweep, which seems to be the trend in the American League. The Baltimore Orioles move on to the ALCS after a 3-0 sweep and a 2-1 win in game 3 over the Detroit Tigers thanks to a Nelson Cruz home run, while their opponents, backed by the home crowd, got close in the ninth inning but couldn’t complete the turnaround.
The Tigers, struggling to hit all day and finishing with just 4-of-32, got a ninth-inning RBI from J.D. Martinez, scoring Victor Martinez. But on the next at-bat the Tigers grounded out to a double play which ended the series, in which they didn’t have home field advantage but were perceived as the favorites going in due to their lineup and the three Cy Young winners. David Price did a good job on his start, but the 19 runs given up in the previous two games were too much for the Tigers to keep up with.
The Orioles are in the Champions Series for the first time since 1997, facing off against a Kansas City Royals team they lost to four times in seven meetings during the regular season. They got a very solid start in game 3 out of Bud Norris, pitching for 6.1 innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six batters. He was replaced by the fantastic Andre Miller. Zach Britton came on for the save and almost let it slip away from him, but eventually got the outs thanks to that series-ending double play
Nelson Cruz hit his second home run of the series and his 16th in the postseason, taking him one past Babe Ruth on the all-time list. Now he’s tied with Carlos Beltran, and it’s no surprise it has come against the Tigers, a team he has hit eight home runs against in the postseason while playing for various teams. He’s had one impressive series, hitting .500 after another 2-for-4 day, having no problem with David Price, who pitched for 8 innings and did a good job, allowing just five hits while striking out six.
He didn’t get any run support, surprisingly. The top of the order for the Tigers – Kinsler, Hunter and Cabrera finished with just 0-for-11, as Hunter with a walk was the only one of the three to get on base during the game. The Tigers won the division for the fourth consecutive season, yet failed to reach the Championship series unlike the previous three years. It’s only the second time they’ve been swept in their opening playoff series, the previous time coming in 1907, losing to the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.
The Orioles haven’t won a World Series since 1983, but that might be a bit too soon to think about. They’ve managed to climb back to be on top of the AL East after a long time of looking from below on more traditional powers doing well and winning World Series titles. This team might not be star studded but it seems like the complete package, even without aces to start for them. The Royals are made of the same mold, which makes their next series incredibly interesting and difficult to predict.