BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles saw this one coming.
Coming off a horrid performance in the All-Star game, Detroit ace Justin Verlander returned to form Sunday, allowing three hits over eight innings to carry the Tigers to a 4-0 victory at Camden Yards.
Verlander (10-5) struck out eight and walked two in his first appearance since yielding five runs in one inning for the AL in an 8-0 loss Tuesday night. The reigning Cy Young Award winner retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced before leaving after 117 pitches.
“When he had some struggles in the All-Star game I wasn’t too excited about it,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I kind of had an idea he was going to be on top of his game today.”
Jim Thome had three hits for the Orioles, who lost for the 10th time in 14 games. Baltimore was under three runs for the 14th time in 25 games, Wilson Betemit struck out three times and J.J. Hardy failed to hit the ball out of the infield in four at-bats to extend his hitting slump to 4 for 55 (.073).
Blame it on Verlander.
“After the All-Star game I thought we were going to have a real good shot of lighting him up but I think he was just setting us up,” left fielder Chris Davis deadpanned. “He’s good. He won MVP last year for a reason. I felt like at times that he was just toying with us.”
At the All-Star game, Verlander tried to put on a show. Against the Orioles, he staged a pitching clinic.
“He was just in total command and I knew he would be, particularly after the All-Star game,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland
said. “The fans wanted to see him throw it 100 (mph) and he threw it at 100. Today he pitched the way he can pitch and has been pitching. … Today the horse did what the horses do.”
It was the Anti-All-Star game for Detroit’s ace, who couldn’t wait to get back on the mound after the debacle in Kansas City.
“Yes, but at the same time, I had to tell myself that that’s not the kind of pitcher that I am,” Verlander said. “Everybody
that has watched me or followed the Tigers or myself knows that that’s not me. That’s not the way I normally pitch so it’s easy to turn the page.”
It was Verlander’s 117th win for Detroit, tied with Denny McLain for 13th on the team career list. He improved to 7-0 in 10 lifetime starts against the Orioles, including 5-0 at Camden Yards.
Jose Valverde worked the ninth to complete the four-hitter. Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera homered for the Tigers, who took two of three from the Orioles.
Making his second start and appearance in the majors, Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez (1-1) gave up three runs, six hits and
five walks over 5 2/3 innings. In his first start, the right-hander allowed just one run in seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels. In this one, the rookie fell behind 1-0 after throwing two pitches.
“I kept the team in the game. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Gonzalez said. “I felt good. Good pitches. They got hit. That’s
Second baseman Robert Andino left in the sixth inning after hurting his left shoulder diving for a single. X-rays were
negative, and he will receive an MRI on Monday.
Jackson opened the game with a drive into the center-field seats, his third leadoff homer of the season and seventh of his
career. He also extended his run-scoring streak to 12 games, most by a Detroit player since Rocky Colavito scored in 12 straight in 1961.
The Tigers added a second-inning run when Brennan Boesch doubled and scored on a single by Jhonny Peralta.
Detroit made it 3-0 in the sixth. Prince Fielder walked, took second on a single by Boesch and scored on a single by Alex Avila.
Orioles right-hander Steve Johnson, the son of former Baltimore pitcher Dave Johnson, made his major league debut in the eighth. He escaped that inning after walking the first two batters, but gave up Cabrera’s 20th home run in the ninth.
Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game and optioned back afterward to make room for Chris Tillman, who will start for the Orioles in Minnesota on Monday night.
NOTES: Orioles RHP Jason Hammel will undergo surgery on his right knee to remove loose cartilage. He is expected to miss at least a month. He was placed on the 15-day DL. … Leyland managed in his 3,264th game, 15th-most in major league history. … Baltimore’s Mark Reynolds ended a 0-for-17 drought with a seventh-inning single.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)