The Baltimore Orioles’ game with the Detroit Tigers on Monday night showcased some of the finest talent to go through Tucson and the University of Arizona in recent years.
Canyon del Oro High School product Ian Kinsler of Detroit and Sabino grad J.J. Hardy of Baltimore played important roles in the game, won by the Tigers 4-1 at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Former Arizona pitcher Preston Guilmet made his debut with Baltimore as a reliever.
Kinsler hit a two-run home run off starter Bud Norris in the eighth inning to give the Tigers their 4-1 lead. Norris was ejected after hitting Torii Hunter with a 94 mile-per-hour pitch to the ribs two pitches after the Kinsler home run. Both benches and bullpens cleared, but the incident did not escalate from there.
Guilmet replaced Norris and was effective in 1 1/3 innings. He had two strikeouts and no walks and did not allow a run or hit.
Kinsler’s home run was his fourth of the season. He also registered his fifth stolen base in the game. He is batting .315 in his first season with Detroit after eight seasons with Texas.
Hardy, batting .264 this season, went 1-for-4 for the Orioles.
The high school careers of Hardy and Kinsler in Tucson coincided. Hardy was an all-state selection at Sabino from 1999 to 2001. Kinsler helped lead CDO to state titles in 1997 and 2000.
Guilmet, a right-hander who pitched at Arizona from 2006-2009, was traded to Baltimore from Cleveland last month. The Pac-12 pitcher of the year in 2007 briefly pitched for the Indians last year, compiling a 10.13 ERA in 5 1/3 relief innings, allowing eight hits and six runs with one strikeout and three walks.
The Baltimore Sun reported before Monday night’s game that Baltimore manager Buck Showalter lauded Guilmet’s minor-league performance since leaving Arizona in 2009.
In six minor league seasons, Guilmet is 20-15 with a 2.71 ERA and 94 saves. Last year with Cleveland’s Triple-A team in Columbus, he was 5-4 with a 1.68 ERA and 20 saves.
“You always try to give the other organization credit because they know guys better than we do, but there are not going to be many of these 24 pitchers who are here tonight who have a better minor-league resume than he does,” Showalter told the Sun. “He’s really only had one transition to the big leagues and one opportunity. We were fortunate, hopefully, to trade for him. A pitcher like that, with that background, with options is hard to find.”