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
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
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
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.