Orioles 6, Tigers 5
There were 44,846 fans at Comerica Park on Saturday night, and almost all of them came to see Justin Verlander make history.
Instead, a light-hitting Baltimore Orioles rookie stole the show.
Matt Angle led off the game with his first major league home run, then executed a tiebreaking squeeze bunt in the ninth inning to help the Orioles end Verlander's 12-start winning streak with a 6-5 victory.
''This was a good night, filled with a lot of firsts,'' said Angle, who also took a shaving-cream pie to the face during a postgame interview. ''I'm going to remember this for a long time.''
Chris Davis started the ninth with a single off Daniel Schlereth (2-2). Kyle Hudson ran for him and went from first to third on a wild pitch that struck out Robert Andino. Angle then laid down a perfect squeeze to put the Orioles in front.
Managers Jim Leyland and Buck Showalter that the winning play came down to one veteran manager outguessing the other one.
''Jimmy's done that to me a million times, which is why he's one of the best managers in the game,'' Showalter said. ''We were lucky. Very lucky.''
Leyland said he thought Showalter would try the squeeze, but didn't know when.
''I suspected it might be coming but, obviously, I didn't guess the right pitch,'' he said.
Verlander was bidding to become the first pitcher to win 13 starts in a row since Ellis Kinder of the Boston Red Sox in 1949, according to STATS LLC. The major league record of 21 was set by the Philadelphia Athletics' Lefty Grove in 1931.
Verlander broke the previous Tigers record of wins in 11 straight starts, shared by Earl Whitehill (1930) and Hal Newhouser (1946).
''I haven't been paying too much attention to the streak, except when people ask me about it,'' he said. ''So I'm not worried that it is gone, and I don't care that I didn't get the loss tonight. We lost. That's all that matters.''
The Tigers also fell a game back of AL West champion Texas in the race for the league's second seed.
The Orioles scored five times in the first three innings. J.J. Hardy hit a two-run single in Baltimore's three-run second and Mark Reynolds added his 37th homer in the third inning.
''He's human, but it isn't exactly like we opened him up,'' Showalter said of Verlander. ''There aren't many pitches coming out of his hand that are easy to hit.''
Verlander's next start will come in Game 1 of the AL division series.
''I wasn't executing my pitches, so I was falling behind guys and they were taking advantage,'' he said. ''Hopefully, I'm going to have five or six more starts this season, and this one won't have mattered.''
Leyland compared it to the most famous catch in baseball history - Willie Mays' grab in the 1954 World Series.
''If you are a baseball fan, you've been seeing a catch like that one for the last 50 or 60 years - Willie's catch,'' he said. ''This one doesn't take second place to that one or anything else. That was just an unbelievable catch.''
Cabrera hit his 28th homer in the sixth and Peralta added a tying RBI single against Strop in the eighth, giving Verlander a no-decision.
NOTES: Verlander has gone at least six innings in 42 straight starts, including all 34 this year. That's the longest streak for a Tiger since at least 1919, passing Hal Newhouser's streak of 41 in 1944-45. ... The game drew the biggest crowd of the season. ... The series finale on Sunday matches Detroit's Brad Penny (10-11) against Baltimore's Brian Matusz (1-8). Matusz enters with a 10.68 ERA, the worst in history by any starter with 10 or more starts. He would have to pitch 6 2-3 shutout innings to avoid breaking Edgar Gonzalez's record of 9.32 in 2004. ... Baltimore slugger Vladimir Guerrero picked up his 2,586th career hit, tying Julio Franco for the most by a Dominican player.