Orioles win Game 3 of ALDS, sweep Tigers: Quick hits

Bud Norris was nails for the Orioles in Game 3.
Bud Norris was nails for the Orioles in Game 3. (USATSI)

By virtue of a 2-1 win Sunday in Game 3 of the American League Division Series round, the Baltimore Orioles have swept the Detroit Tigers in three games and will head to their first ALCS since 1997. They haven't been to the World Series since 1983, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

As for Sunday's action, let's run it down.

Hero: I'm going with Bud Norris . The Orioles didn't need a late-inning comeback like they did in Game 2 thanks to Norris' effort. The 29-year-old veteran had never made a postseason start prior to Sunday, but in Game 3, he worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out six. Getting the ball to the seventh inning with the lead for Andrew Miller , and Zach Britton was the script, and Norris more than followed it. Not only that, but he wasn't even originally scheduled to start the game. Manager Buck Showalter decided to change the plan Saturday. Norris deserves high praise.

Also, only slightly related, but props to the Tigers fans behind this ...

For those who don't understand the reference to (proper spelling) Delmon Young , you can click here. Good to see some creativity from fans. Nothing is more annoying than the ones who don't do anything but scream "you suck!" over and over.

Anyway, I digress. Moving on ...

Goat: No way is this on Price. The goat is the entire Tigers' offense. Obviously Norris deserves credit for his outing, but he's still a guy who had a 3.65 ERA in the regular season. The only members of the Tigers' offense to get base hits Saturday off Norris were Alex Avila and Don Kelly . The 1-5 hitters in the lineup combined to go zero for the game until the ninth inning when Victor Martinez 's double was followed by J.D. Martinez 's double. That's just not going to get it done.

Turning point: Nelson Cruz broke out the boomstick with an opposite-field, two-run homer in the sixth inning. With Norris and David Price matching zeroes for a while, it was anyone's game. Cruz's bomb put the Orioles in control with their dominant bullpen waiting in the wings.

Oh, and Cruz had a little something to say to Miguel Cabrera :

There's also something else to discuss here. Alex Avila was catching Price until this happened:

Avila has a history of concussions and had trouble standing up initially. He was immediately removed from the game. The next two batters (after Steve Pearce ): Adam Jones with a single and then Cruz with his homer.

It was over when: Zach Britton allowed a pair of doubles to start the ninth, but eventually got a ground-ball double play to end the game. Given the one-run victory and the presence of the winning run on first base (via intentional walk), this one wasn't over until it was literally over. Out No. 27.

Next: Break out your brooms, Baltimore, because this thing is a sweep. The Orioles have won the series, three games to zero. They'll await the winner of the other ALDS between the Royals and Angels before playing the ALCS. If the Royals win, the Orioles will host Games 1 and 2. If the Angels come back, the Orioles will hit the road for the first two games.

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