A crazy, back-and-forth duel that began in daylight and ended well after nightfall was decided by a slump-ridden shortstop and a veteran making his season debut.
Taylor Teagarden ended his first game with the Baltimore Orioles in stunning fashion, hitting a two-run homer in the 13th inning that sealed an 8-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday.
Teagarden’s shot off Joaquin Benoit (1-2) followed a solo drive by J.J. Hardy, who snapped an 0-for-28 skid with a drive into the left-field seats.
”It was a long time since I’ve hit a ball hard,” Hardy said. ”It felt good.”
Hardy’s homer set the table for the game winner.
After Benoit hit Adam Jones with a pitch with two outs, Teagarden homered over the right-field wall to put an end to the game and Detroit’s six-game winning streak.
The Orioles needed 4 hours, 43 minutes to secure their 10th straight extra-inning win. Had the game not gone beyond the ninth inning, Teagarden would not have even played.
Activated off the 60-day disabled list before the game, Teagarden entered after starting catcher Matt Wieters left for a pinch runner in the 10th. After striking out in his first at-bat, Teagarden played the hero’s role in the 13th and was mobbed by his teammates after crossing the plate.
”I’ve been thinking about this day for a while,” he said. ”It has been somewhat of a grind for me this year, so just being in this clubhouse and among these guys, it means the world right now.”
Kevin Gregg (3-2) got the last out in the 13th to get the win.
Despite the defeat, Tigers manager Jim Leyland knew he watched something special.
”Oh boy, what a game,” he 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 scored a run in the 11th after the Tigers scored in the top half, then rallied again in the 13th after Quintin Berry put Detroit ahead 6-5 with a two-out RBI single.
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 All-Star closer Jim Johnson. Instead, the Tigers scored three runs to hand Johnson his second blown save in 28 opportunities.
Miguel 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 Delmon 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 Detroit starter Max 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. Singles by Jones and Wieters preceded a run-scoring grounder by Chris Davis in the fourth.
NOTES: The Orioles unveiled a statue of former pitcher Jim Palmer in the picnic area beyond center field. Palmer is depicted in mid-motion, with his left leg high in the air and right arm poised to throw. He is the third of the team’s six Hall of Fame members to be honored during the 20th anniversary of Camden Yards. … 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.