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
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
”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
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
”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
”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
Pedro Strop (2-1) picked up the win, and Kevin Gregg pitched the
ninth for his 22nd save.
The Orioles almost had an even bigger start, but Austin Jackson
made a spectacular over-the-shoulder basket catch to rob Adam Jones
of extra bases in the second.
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.”
Jackson hit an RBI single in the third, and Detroit added two
more in the fourth. Alex Avila drove in Miguel Cabrera with a
groundout, and Jhonny Peralta added a sacrifice fly.
Cabrera hit his 28th homer in the sixth and Peralta added a
tying RBI single against Strop in the eighth, giving Verlander a
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.