Tigers 4, Orioles 2

The Detroit Tigers, the American League’s best team at home, set

themselves up for a division showdown by sweeping baseball’s worst

team anywhere.

Max Scherzer pitched seven solid innings and Danny Worth hit his

first homer, helping Detroit beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 on

Wednesday night.

The AL Central-leading Tigers swept the three-game series and

they’ve won five of six at Comerica Park, improving to a

league-best 30-12 at home.

“We’ve got it going,” Scherzer said. “Here at home, we’re

pretty comfortable.”

In Baltimore or on the road, the Orioles have simply been

bad.

The Orioles have lost six of seven – dropping to a season-worst

34 games under .500 – and are the only team in the majors without

at least 10 wins as visitors and with fewer than 30 victories

overall.

“We can’t worry about our record,” said manager Juan Samuel,

who is 10-20 since Dave Trembley was fired. “We can only worry

about the next game.”

After an off day Thursday, Detroit will open a three-game series

at home against Minnesota.

Ace Justin Verlander will pitch for the Tigers and Francisco

Liriano for the Twins, whose loss at Toronto on Wednesday night

gave Detroit a season-high 1 1/2-game lead in the AL Central.

“I’m looking forward to Friday,” said slugger Miguel Cabrera,

who extended his hitting season to 16 games in the series finale

against Baltimore. “But I’m not looking at anything beyond that –

Saturday, September or October.”

Looking back, it seemed to help Scherzer get sent to the minors

in May to work on his mechanics.

Scherzer (6-6) has won a career-high four straight. He gave up

one run on six hits and two walks while striking out six.

“His command is good and the ball is coming out of his hand an

easy 94, 95,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s on a pretty

decent roll right now.”

Robbie Weinhardt gave up a run in his major league debut and

Phil Coke got the final three outs for his first save with the

Tigers.

“With their bullpen, if you let them get a lead late in the

game, it is pretty much over,” Samuel said.

Against Baltimore, that’s pretty much been the case regardless

of its opponent. The Orioles fell to 0-51 this year when trailing

after eight innings.

Brad Bergesen (3-6) gave up four runs and 11 hits in six

innings. He hasn’t won in almost two months.

“I felt like I threw the ball well, but there were a couple bad

pitches that just killed me,” Bergesen said. “They’ve got a great

lineup – the 3-4-5 guys are as tough as it gets in the game – but

the guys lower down beat me.”

The Tigers scored one run in the first and third innings and two

in the fifth before Baltimore had a run in the seventh.

Rookie Austin Jackson hit a leadoff double – extending his

hitting streak to a season-high 11 games – advanced on Johnny

Damon’s sacrifice bunt and Magglio Ordonez’s groundout brought him

home for the first run.

Worth, playing in his 25th game, led off the third with a solo

homer to make it 2-0.

Nick Markakis had a two-out single in the fourth for the

Orioles’ first hit after they struck out six times against

Scherzer, who fanned 14 in a game earlier this year.

“Our offense has been clicking, but he just shut us down

tonight,” Samuel said. “Our guys were having trouble seeing the

ball early in the game, which happens here, but we can’t use that

as an excuse.”

The Tigers built a four-run cushion they needed in the fifth.

Rookie Brennan Boesch hit a two-out double, scored on Carlos

Guillen’s single, and Brandon Inge’s RBI double made it 4-0.

Baltimore finally scored in the seventh on Matt Wieters’ RBI

single, scoring Adam Jones after he doubled.

Jones led off the ninth with a triple off Weinhardt, ending his

night. Wieters hit a sacrifice fly off Coke, who got Felix Pie to

pop up and pinch-hitter Jake Fox to strike out.

“Everything is better at home,” Leyland said. “I think we’re

very comfortable here – our fans are great – but we have to play

better on the road if we’re going to contend for anything in the

second half.”

NOTES: Cabrera’s hitting streak is one short of his career high

that he set last July. … Baltimore, 1-5 on its road trip, will

travel to play Texas on Thursday night. … Jones has hits in 24 of

his last 29 games.