Game 1 (Final Score: 4-3, Tigers win)
Robertson’s opponent in the first game of the Memorial Day weekend series was Sidney Ponson, who boasts a winning record even though he sports an ERA over five. Playing to his average, Ponson started the game with a Brandon Inge double. After overcoming Infante and Young, Rondell White hit Ponson’s 0-2 pitch for a single, which sent Inge home for an early Tigers’ lead (1-0). Robertson bettered his opponent for most of the game, especially in the second when he got out of a one out, two men on jam with a nicely turned double play.
Ponson was solid for two innings until he allowed the leadoff man to score in the fourth. Young did all the work himself belting his seventh homerun of the year (2-0). In what looked to be a promising inning, Rodriguez’s double and Pena’s walk were wasted by some poor hitting from Monroe and Smith. Robertson and Ponson settled in to pitch a pretty good game, trading zeros for another couple innings until Young lead off the sixth successfully with an infield single. He advanced to third on a pair of groundouts and scored on Monroe’s home run (4-0). Robertson matched Ponson in the bottom half by giving up a leadoff triple to Brian Roberts, who scored on Jeff Fiorentino’s groundout (4-1).
Robertson lasted midway through the eighth before giving way to Farnsworth. He allowed a single to Surhoff and four pitch walk to Geronimo Gil before getting Roberts and Fiorentino out. Farnsworth allowed run scoring singles to Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada before finally ending the inning (4-3). Urbina came in to finish the game off even though it looked like he wouldn’t make it that far. The first two outs were sandwiched between a leadoff double and two walks before Urbina got Fiorentino to swing and miss at strike three.
Game 2 (Final Score: 5-3, Tigers win)
Ex-Oriole Jason “Hard Luck” Johnson started this game with the fans hoping he pitches well enough to win and actually does this time. Rookie Hayden Penn, pitching in his first game, was probably pleased to be facing a slumping Tigers lineup that hasn’t given Johnson enough support to win since the middle of April. The first major league hit he allowed was a single, which isn’t so bad, but the second was a solo home run to Craig Monroe in the top of the second, which he probably wants back (1-0). He got a nice pick-me-up from Tejada in the bottom when Johnson gave him a 2-1 pitch he could drive out of the park (1-1).
The Orioles struck again, this time in the fourth when Melvin Mora converted Surhoff’s leadoff triple into the go-ahead run on his single (1-2). That was two hits, one run, all in three pitches by Johnson. Compare this to the long inning Penn had in the top half. He gave the Tigers a single and two walks but no runs. Riding the rollercoaster called Johnson is very frustrating.
In the fifth inning much fun was had by the bats. Logan singled and stole second before Inge walked. Guillen’s groundout advanced both runners, so with first base open, the Orioles walked Young intentionally. White made them pay, kind of, when his grounder scored Logan but forced Young out at second (2-2). Next up was Rodriguez who smacked a double, scoring Inge and giving Monroe runners on second and third and a new pitcher (3-2). Todd Williams induced another groundout to end the top half. The bottom half was quiet unless you count the seven pitch at bat ending in a Rafael Palemeiro homerun (3-3).
Johnson and Williams combined to keep the next two innings scoreless. Williams’ relief, Jorge Julio, got White easily enough only to see Rodriguez single, steal second, and make third on Monroe’s fly. Home base came at a trot for Rodriguez because Infante belted the 1-1 pitch over the fence in left center for two runs, and the final margin of victory (5-3).
Game 3 (Final Score: 8-6, Tigers win)
Ledezma got the nod to finish the series with Baltimore. He stranded three baserunners through three innings before surrendering the Tigers’ fourth inning lead (Dmitri Young scored on Sosa’s error). He issued two walks that were quickly real trouble after Chris Gomez’s sacrifice. Jay Gibbons had men on second and third (one out) that he did just enough with, scoring Tejada on his groundout (1-1). The Tigers answered in the fifth with men on second and third (two out), oh, and first also. Ramon Martinez was less effective since his effort ended in a pop fly out, ruining a great scoring chance.
The bottom of the fifth saw the exit of Ledezma. He allowed two more runs on Surhoff’s triple and was replaced by Chris Spurling (1-3). Spurling bettered Mora and intentionally walked Tejada and faced Sammy Sosa with two on, one out. Sosa’s single scored a run, Gomez’s double scored a run, and Gil’s sac fly scored a third run before Spurling could mercifully end the inning (1-6). Young’s leadoff homer in the top of the sixth got a run back but it looked to be too little, too late (2-6).
It looked that way, for an entire inning or so anyway. Wilson drew a leadoff walk and Bruce Chen was finally relieved, to the Tigers’ relief as it turned out. Logan and Inge hit singles to give Martinez the bases loaded. He flied out. Young plated two with his double and Monroe did the rest with his three-run shot (7-6). That wasn’t all. Rodriguez hit a double, Thames walked, and Infante hit an RBI single (8-6). Wilson returned to the plate to end the inning on a double play but I can’t say I care since he started this inning off so nicely. Farnsworth, German, and Urbina combined for two hits the rest of the way and delivered to the Tigers’ fans a shiny new series sweep.