Thoughts on Game 6 of 162

Tigers reliever Enrique Gonzalez walks back to the dugout after being pulled in the seventh inning Thursday. Gonzalez gave up three earned runs in 2/3 an inning. (AP)

Brad Penny bounced back from his rough debut with a decent start for the Tigers. He kept Detroit in the game and was pulled after giving up the game-tying two-run homer to Adam Jones in the sixth. It was the bullpen that failed the Tigers as their season-opening road trip ended with a disappointing loss to the Orioles. Detroit is 2-4 on the road – an area they desperately need to improve if they have hopes of winning the AL Central this year. The bullpen surrendered five runs in the seventh to help the Orioles rally to the win.

Hero: Adam Jones
Jones hit the game-tying two-run homer that chased Penny from the game in the sixth and then drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to center field during the five-run seventh inning.

Key points: After the Tigers surrendered the lead in the sixth, they immediately responded in the seventh as Austin Jackson had an RBI double that plated Alex Avila for the go-ahead run. However, Baltimore responded in its half of the seventh with Mark Reynolds coming up with a two-RBI double off Enrinque Gonzalez that helped push Baltimore’s lead to 8-5. Reynolds’ hit was probably the biggest during the five-run seventh.

Penny thoughts: Penny was doomed by the two home runs he gave up. Other than that and his three walks to three strikeout ratio, the start wasn’t terrible and a step in the right direction. He was two outs away from a quality start until Jones’ home run ended that and knocked him from the contest.

Staying hot: Brennan Boesch has taken some at-bats away from Ryan Raburn with his hot start. Boesch had two hits, including a double, and an RBI in Thursday’s loss ans is batting .421 so far this season. He has five RBIs this season. Raburn was expected to see most of the playing time in left field this season, but with Boesch’s hot bad those plans have altered. Raburn, who isn’t in Friday’s lineup, did also play on Thursday and went 0 for 4. … Alex Avila followed his career-high five RBI performance on Wednesday by hitting a homer in Thursday’s game. He is tied with Miguel Cabrera for the team lead with seven RBIs.

Tablesetter struggles: Austin Jackson and Will Rhymes haven’t been getting on base much through the first six games of the season. Jackson is batting .200 and Rhymes just .111. Jackson did show signs of life with his two hits in the series finale, including the clutch double in the seventh inning that broke the then 4-4 tie. Rhymes had a nice lengthy at-bat in the opening inning but other than that nothing. Will be interesting to see how much of a leash the Tigers will have if his struggles continue. It still is early, but if Scott Sizemore or Danny Worth get off to hot starts in Toledo this situation bears watching.

Up next: Kansas City, 3 p.m. Friday