DETROIT (AP) — Down by five after one inning and facing one of the AL’s hottest pitchers, the Baltimore Orioles had the Detroit Tigers right where they wanted them.
Nate McLouth hit a go-ahead, two-run triple and Baltimore stormed back to beat Detroit 7-5 on Sunday. The Orioles have rallied from five-run deficits to win three times in their last 20 games.
“That’s a great win for us,” manager Buck Showalter said. “This is a very workman-like team. They don’t get excited when something like this happens. They just look at what they’ve got in front of them and start working on it.”
McLouth, Nick Markakis and Mark Reynolds each had two hits for the Orioles, who have won five of seven, including the last two of the key weekend series at Detroit. Chris Davis homered for the second straight game and J.J. Hardy had a two-run double.
The Orioles led Detroit by two games in the race for the second wild-card spot in the American League. The Tigers had won 17 of 20 at Comerica Park before dropping the last two this weekend.
“That’s a very good team, and you know they feed off the emotions of that crowd,” Showalter said. “Like I just told Jim (Leyland), I’m glad they are someone else’s problem for the rest of the season.”
The Tigers jumped all over Wei-Yin Chen (12-7), scoring five times with one out in the first. Omar Infante hit a solo homer, Miguel Cabrera walked and Prince Fielder singled to left before Jhonny Peralta drove a 2-0 pitch over the wall in center to make it 4-0.
Delmon Young singled and scored on Jeff Baker’s double before Chen retired two in a row to end the inning.
“In the first inning, I was trying to attack the zone, but I couldn’t get any first-pitch strikes,” he said through a translator. “After that inning, I got stronger, but I still have to thank my teammates for coming through for me. That’s how baseball works. You never know what can happen.”
Four Baltimore relievers combined for four innings of two-hit ball, with Jim Johnson recording three outs for his 37th save in 40 chances. The right-hander is tied with Gregg Olsen for the second-most saves by an Oriole, behind Randy Myers’ 45 in 1997.
“Our bullpen has been outstanding and that’s the key in games like this,” Showalter said. “Detroit has great bats and they are doing a lot of great things late in games, especially with those fans cheering them on. Our guys didn’t let that happen.”
The Orioles got back in the game in the second inning against Doug Fister (7-8). Davis connected for his 20th homer, Markakis doubled home a run and Hardy had his big hit that trimmed Detroit’s lead to 5-4.
McLouth, who entered with just four RBIs for the season, put the Orioles in front with two out in the fourth, and Davis drove him in with a base hit. That knocked Fister out of the game, having allowed as many earned runs as his previous five starts combined.
“We was just out of whack– he wasn’t good today,” Leyland said. “He knows what to do with a lead, but he just wasn’t crisp. I just don’t think he felt right.”
Fister allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked three. The right-hander was 6-1 with a 1.97 ERA in his previous eight starts.
“It’s plain and simple– I didn’t execute,” Fister said. “I was very poor at making adjustments and they made me pay for it.”
Detroit put two runners on with no outs in the seventh but Darren O’Day struck out Cabrera on three pitches and got Fielder to bounce into a double play.
NOTES: Erik Bedard was the last Oriole to win 12 or more games in a season, picking up 13 in 2007. With Chen’s next win, he will tie Hong-Chih Kuo for the second-most victories by a Taiwanese-born pitcher. Chien-Ming Wang is the leader with 61, and also has the single-season record with 19.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)