Orioles-Tigers Preview

After a quiet first two games, Miguel Cabrera found his stroke in the opener of this three-game set.

The reigning two-time AL MVP has hit the Baltimore Orioles especially hard over the years.

Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers try to improve to 4-0 for the second time in three seasons Saturday against the visiting Orioles, who are hoping to avoid a fourth straight defeat.

Cabrera went a combined 1 for 7 as Detroit swept a rain-shortened two-game set against Kansas City earlier this week, but he broke out in a big way in Friday’s 10-4 win. The 2012 Triple Crown winner collected four hits in five at-bats, including a two-run homer in the eighth inning to give him 2,000 hits for his career.

"I never expected I was going to hit 1,000 hits," said Cabrera, who is just the ninth player to accomplish the feat before turning 31. "I never expect something personal. I expect to go out there and … try to find a way to help my teammates."

Cabrera has hit safely in all but two of his last 29 games against the Orioles, a stretch during which he’s batting .486 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs. His .401 average in 46 career games against Baltimore is his second-highest mark against any opposing team he’s faced more than twice.

"What else can you say about Miguel as a hitter? Eventually you run out of adjectives," first-year manager Brad Ausmus said. "I’ve only been here for a short period of time, and I’m already running out of words to describe him."

The Orioles (1-3) have dropped three straight since winning their season opener. Baltimore, which went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position Friday, has scored just 11 runs while hitting .214 in the early going.

"We were facing a lot of challenges today, including a few that I hope we don’t have to face very often," manager Buck Showalter said. "But that’s what happens when you are playing so many day games at this time of the year."

Baltimore will try to regroup against Tigers starter Rick Porcello, who is 0-5 with a 5.45 ERA in his last six starts in the series. Chris Davis is 4 for his last 9 with three homers against the right-hander, and Nick Markakis is 8 for 19.

Porcello (13-8, 4.32 ERA) is hoping to put a disappointing spring behind him. He finished 1-2 with a 7.85 ERA over five starts, allowing four homers in 18 1-3 innings.

"I feel really good," he told the team’s official website. "Obviously, the results haven’t been there this spring. I don’t look into it any more than how I feel and how I’m executing pitches. I feel good, and the ability to execute pitches is there. I just need to bear down a little bit more.

"I have to work harder to keep the ball down. It’s important."

Porcello went 1-2 with a 9.87 ERA in four starts last April before finishing strong, going 9-2 with a 3.47 ERA down the stretch.

Bud Norris takes the mound for the Orioles after going 1-2 with a 2.65 ERA during spring training. The right-hander went 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 games – nine starts – with Baltimore last season after coming over from Houston before the trade deadline.

"I’m excited to get this going," he told the Orioles’ official website.

Norris went 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts versus Detroit last May while with the Astros.

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy could return after sitting out Friday with mild back spasms. Hardy is 8 for 18 with three homers and five RBIs in his last five games against the Tigers.