Orioles-Tigers Preview

A big hit by Johnny Damon kept the Detroit Tigers in first place

in the AL Central. It wasn’t the first time Damon has taken

advantage of the Baltimore Orioles.

Damon looks to extend a nine-game hitting streak against the

Orioles as the Tigers try to complete a three-game sweep Wednesday

night.

Detroit (45-37) improved to 29-12 at home and maintained a

half-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central after Damon hit a

two-run, walk-off homer in the 11th inning of a 7-5 win over

Baltimore on Tuesday. Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the

ninth to tie the game as the Tigers rallied from a 4-1 deficit.

The game-winning hit came after Damon became the 92nd major

league player to reach 2,500 career hits with a third-inning

single. He is among seven active players to reach that mark.

“The ball from my 2,500th hit is going in the trophy case, but

No. 2,501 is the one I’m going to remember for a long time,” Damon

said. “Hitting a homer in a situation like that never gets

old.”

Damon, who split the last eight seasons between Boston and the

New York Yankees, has done a lot of that damage against the

Orioles. He has batted .304 lifetime against Baltimore, including

.351 since the start of the 2008 season. He was 3 for 6 in

Detroit’s 12-9 win Monday.

On Wednesday, Damon will look to help the Tigers complete their

fifth three-game sweep at home this season.

Baltimore, meanwhile, has dropped four in a row in Detroit. It

left 17 on base Tuesday after stranding nine on Monday.

“We had a lot of opportunities to score more runs, but even

then, we still had the lead going into the ninth inning,” interim

manger Juan Samuel said. “At some point, we’ve got to start closing

out these games and get some wins.”

The Orioles will try to salvage a win in the finale, but

Detroit’s scheduled starter Max Scherzer (5-6, 4.88 ERA) has been

tough to beat lately.

Scherzer gave up one run and three hits in a season-high eight

innings of a 7-1 win over Seattle on Friday, his fourth quality

start in his last five outings.

“I was executing with my fastball,” Scherzer said. “I was really

pitching well tonight and I think that’s what allowed me to have a

lot of success.”

The right-hander, making his first appearance against the

Orioles, is 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA in his last five starts and has

given up two runs over his last three outings, spanning 20 2-3

innings.

Baltimore will counter with Brad Bergesen (3-5, 6.44), who is

trying for his first victory in nearly two months.

Bergesen was effective Friday, but he remains winless since

defeating Seattle on May 12 after giving up three runs and five

hits in a season-high 7 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Boston.

The right-hander was 0-1 with a 10.31 ERA in his previous four

starts, lasting a combined 18 1-3 innings. Friday was his fourth

quality start in 12 outings this season after he threw 13 in 19

starts last year.

“It was really nice to see him get back to the Brad we say here

last year,” Samuel told the Orioles’ official website.

Bergesen’s only start against Detroit came last season when he

allowed two runs in eight innings of a 7-2 win.