Brach points to lack of execution for struggles

Normally reliable reliever allows tiebreaking HR in loss to Tigers

Brach points to lack of execution for struggles

DETROIT -- Brad Brach was one of the Orioles' most reliable relievers through the first four months of the season, but has gone into a slide since the beginning of August. That continued Friday night in Detroit when he gave up an eighth-inning home run to Victor Martinez that led to a 4-3 loss, dropping the Orioles back into a tie for the American League's second Wild Card with the Tigers.

Brach was ahead 0-2 in the count to Martinez before he left a 2-2 fastball at 96 mph over the plate that Martinez sent to the seats in right-center.

"I was trying to go in and I left it [in the] middle [of the plate]. I just can't make mistakes like that," Brach said. "I've been saying that for a while now, it's my execution. I'm not executing my pitches when I should, especially in big spots against some of the better hitters."

Brach had allowed just seven earned runs in his first 56 innings through the end of July. Martinez's home run Friday was the seventh earned run he has allowed in 13 2/3 innings since. He gave up three home runs in the first three months of the season and has given up three since, including two in the last four games.

V-Mart's go-ahead blast

Starter Kevin Gausman took a no-decision after he allowed three runs in six innings. Gausman said he knows that Brach is his own worst critic and knows he will beat himself up about the home run to Martinez.

"It's beyond frustrating," Brach said. "Like [Gausman] said, I'm my own worst critic. To lose games like these, especially against these guys in the Wild Card race, is difficult. So, [I] try not to think about it too much, but he's right. I just think about it way too much and put too much pressure on myself sometimes."

Brach walked J.D. Martinez after giving up the homer before striking out Justin Upton, then getting James McCann to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"I tend more to give Victor Martinez credit," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's been doing that to a lot of guys. Brad's been such an All-Star and will continue to give us a chance. He came back and a got us a big double play."

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.