Daniel Norris #44 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the first inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 02, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.
BALTIMORE –It was a dandy debut.
Left-handed pitcher Daniel Norris, the key piece in a trade that also netted the Tigers two other left-handed pitchers from Toronto for David Price, allowed one run on four hits and one walk over 71/3 innings with five strikeouts in his first game as a Tiger.
The Tigers gave Norris a three-run cushion in the first inning, thanks to the 29th home run of the season by J.D. Martinez, and went on to beat the Orioles, 6-1, on Sunday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Martinez, who left Saturday’s game with a left knee contusion, said he was sore, but it didn’t hinder him in the field.
“Any time you can get runs early for your starting pitcher, it kind of gives them breathing room,” Martinez said.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Norris had “an outstanding first outing.”
“Had a good riding fastball, a curveball that he didn’t use until about the third or fourth inning,” Ausmus said.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler said Norris trusted his fastball, his catcher and defense. “I don’t think he shook one time all day,” Kinsler said.
Catcher James McCann said it was exciting to work with Norris: “He attacked hitters, didn’t matter who was up at the plate.
“Regardless of results, the stuff, the poise, the pace that he pitches at. He’s mixing a lot of pitches and his fastball is electric. The ball jumps out of his hand.”
Norris struck out the first two batters he faced, Manny Machado and Geraldo Parra.
Norris gave up a single and a walk in the second, but showed some athleticism and got out of the jam. He impressed teammates with a diving catch on a pop-up on a bunt attempt by J.J. Hardy, then got Jimmy Paredes to ground into a double play.
McCann said he thought Norris was going to catch the ball on a hop. “Then out of nowhere he makes the catch.”
Asked about that play, Kinsler said: “He’s a better athlete than I thought he was going to be. That’s pretty impressive.”
Norris’ only mistake came in the fourth inning, when Chris Davis hit a 90-m.p.h. fastball into the right-centerfield seats for his 26th home run of the season.
Norris retired 12 batters in a row, before giving up a one-out single to Jonathan Schoop in the eighth inning. Ausmus brought in Bruce Rondon, who got Nolan Reimold to ground into a double play.
The Tigers tagged Ubaldo Jimenez for six runs on six hits and one walk over 42/3 innings.
With one out in the first inning, Jimenez gave up a single to Jose Iglesias, a walk to Kinsler and a three-run home run to center to Martinez.
The Tigers added three more runs in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead, ending the day for Jimenez.
Rajai Davis hit a soft liner to right for a double and advanced to third when Reimold’s throw hit Schoop, who was crouched down. Anthony Gose broke out of a 2-for-35 slump with an RBI single, then stole second and third. That gave him 16 stolen bases for the season, surpassing his previous high of 15 set in 2012 and matched in 2014.
Gose came home on a triple to center by Iglesias that was misjudged by Adam Jones. Kinsler followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers a 6-1 lead.
Kinsler has 40 multihit games this season. He has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games and has nine multihit games in that stretch.
The Tigers finished the 10-game trip — during which they trade away Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria — 4-6.
“When you’re a ballplayer, it’s part of the life, part of the business,” Kinsler said. “Guys get traded. Things happen. But there’s always a game on the schedule and you’ve gotta be ready to play, regardless of who is getting traded or what the talks are or who has the ball the next day. So far, this club has done a pretty good job and we’re going to try to maintain it.”
“People kind of want to write us off now, saying we’re giving up,” he said. “We still have a lot of great players in this clubhouse and you can blink an eye and all of a sudden, we’re in the race, we’re really not that far back. We’re right there.”