BALTIMORE (AP) — The Detroit Tigers just had their six-game winning streak end in stunning fashion, yet Jim Leyland did not express a shred of disappointment.
That’s because the longtime manager fully appreciates a good baseball game, and the Tigers’ 8-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in 13 innings on Saturday had all the elements: comebacks, clutch hits and finally, a game-winning home run.
Detroit rallied from a three-run deficit in the ninth against All-Star closer Jim Johnson, then twice blew leads in extra innings. The tense, back-and-forth affair took 4 hours, 43 minutes, and Leyland enjoyed all of it.
“Oh boy, what a game,” Leyland said. “It was terrific effort and just an unbelievable game. That was major league baseball at its best. Two teams going at each other. Both teams coming back. Nobody giving up on either side. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
The Orioles got a run in the 11th after Detroit scored in the top half, then rallied again in the 13th after Quintin Berry put the Tigers ahead 6-5 with a two-out RBI single.
In the bottom half, J.J. Hardy ended a 0-for-28 skid with a tying solo homer off Joaquin Benoit (1-2). After Adam Jones was hit by a pitch with two outs, Taylor Teagarden homered over the right-field wall.
Teagarden was activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game after missing the entire season with a strained back. He entered after starting catcher Matt Wieters left for a pinch runner in the 10th.
The Tigers had their heroes, too, including Berry and Miguel Cabrera, both of whom went 3 for 6.
“Everybody did something. Our effort was terrific,” Leyland said. “We battled our (butts) off to get the lead. They battled just as hard as we did. They got one more big hit than we did.”
Berry said: “I’ve never been in a game where it’s back and forth, back and forth. Especially in extra innings, Usually no one can score. Here both teams did.”
Starter Matt Scherzer, who became an afterthought after the game stretched beyond the ninth, added, “I don’t know if I have been in a game as crazy as that.”
Kevin Gregg (3-2) got the last out in the 13th to get the win.
Baltimore improved to 35-0 when leading after eight innings, but it sure wasn’t easy.
Up 4-1 entering the ninth, Baltimore turned to Johnson to seal the win. Instead, the Tigers scored three runs to hand Johnson his second blown save in 28 opportunities.
Cabrera led off with a single, and with one out Delmon Young reached when third baseman Ryan Flaherty, a defensive replacement, botched a potential game-ending, double-play grounder. Jhonny Peralta singled in a run and Brennan Boesch hit an RBI double before pinch hitter Alex Avila struck out.
Berry followed with a single to left to score the tying run, but Boesch was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Endy Chavez, a defensive replacement whose presence paid off.
In the top of the 11th, Prince Fielder and Young hit successive singles off Miguel Socolovich, who was working a second inning in his major league debut. With two outs and runners on the corners, Avila laced a soft liner to center off Troy Patton.
But Baltimore tied it against Detroit closer Jose Valverde in the bottom half, getting a two-out RBI single from Jones.
Robert Andino homered and Nick Markakis hit a career-high three doubles for the Orioles, who snapped a three-game skid.
Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen allowed two hits and two walks in six innings and left with a three-run lead, but the bullpen cost the Taiwanese left-hander a chance to end a three-game losing streak.
After giving up an RBI double to Fielder in the first inning, Chen retired the next 15 Detroit batters before walking Ramon Santiago with two outs in the sixth. Cabrera followed with a single before Chen concluded his sparkling outing by retiring Fielder on a foul ball to right.
Chen outpitched Scherzer, who gave up four runs and nine hits in five innings.
Detroit got a first-inning run when Austin Jackson drew a leadoff walk and scored on Fielder’s 20th double of the season. The Orioles used doubles by Markakis and Jim Thome to tie it in the bottom half.
Baltimore went up 3-1 in the second when Andino, the No. 9 hitter, connected with a man on. It was his fifth home run of the season and the team-high 16th yielded by Scherzer.
Singles by Jones and Wieters preceded a run-scoring grounder by Chris Davis in the fourth.
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter says RHP Chris Tillman, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday, experienced back spasms and will instead start Monday in Minnesota. Rookie Miguel Gonzalez will move up a day and start Sunday. Justin Verlander will start for Detroit in the series finale. … Orioles RHP Jason Hammel (knee) will miss his next start, Showalter said. … Jackson went 0 for 6, ending his career-high 16-game hitting streak.