Orioles 6, Tigers 3
Jake Fox was a villain in more ways than one Friday.
Not only did he hit a two-run homer to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3, but the former Michigan Wolverines star did it on a night when Comerica Park was filled with Michigan State fans.
''It's always fun to play when you have a lot of friends and family in the crowd like I had tonight, but I was also hearing it from all the State fans,'' Fox said, one day before the Spartans play Florida Atlantic at nearby Ford Field. ''They were chanting 'Go State' at me, and I thought about turning around and yelling 'Go Blue', but I decided that can wait until we play each other in a few weeks.''
Fox entered with a perfect 4-for-4 line against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga, including his first career homer, so Baltimore manager Buck Showalter had two reasons to play the light-hitting infielder.
''He's had some success against Galarraga, but this is also his town,'' Showalter said. ''I was waiting for him to do the postgame interview with a Michigan football helmet on.''
For Galarraga, most of the attention was focused on his reunion with umpire Jim Joyce. It was the first time they had been involved in the same game since Joyce's missed call with two out in the ninth cost Galarraga a perfect game on June 2.
Joyce, who worked the plate, was applauded by the crowd when he was announced before the game. But that was the only sign anything unusual was happening.
Galarraga allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings. Any hope for another run at perfection ended quickly - Luke Scott hit a leadoff single in the second for Baltimore.
''I didn't think I was super good, but I wasn't bad, either,'' he said. ''I mainly just made one bad pitch on Fox's home run.''
The Orioles broke it open against Detroit's bullpen. Phil Coke (7-5) came in to pitch the eighth and was struck on his right ankle by Ty Wigginton's one-out liner, which went into foul territory near first for an infield hit. Nick Markakis followed with a single to center, and Wigginton took third when Austin Jackson misplayed the ball.
After Markakis took second on a wild pitch, Scott was intentionally walked and Matt Wieters followed with a fly ball to right, giving the Orioles a 4-3 lead. Adam Jones added an RBI single off Robbie Weinhardt.
''I made a key error that was a turning point in the game,'' said Jackson, normally a top-notch defensive outfielder. ''I just tried to get too quick with the ball.''
Brian Roberts hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth to make it 6-3 and Koji Uehara got three outs in the bottom half for his eighth save.
Miguel Cabrera hit his 34th homer and drove in three runs for the Tigers, who finished with 10 hits. Jackson went 3 for 5 and scored a run.
Fox connected in the fifth, giving the Orioles a 3-1 lead with a drive over the left-field bullpens. It was his seventh homer of the season and second at Comerica Park.
''I don't know what it is about this place, but I've always seen the ball well here,'' Fox said.
Cabrera responded with a two-run shot of his own in the bottom half. Wieters missed Johnny Damon's foul popup a few feet away from home plate, and Damon walked before Cabrera's tying shot off Kevin Millwood.
Jackson started the Tigers seventh with a triple, but David Hernandez (6-8) retired the next two batters. Cabrera was intentionally walked for the 30th time this season, and Ryan Raburn struck out to end the inning.
Showalter said walking Cabrera was one of the easiest decisions of his career.
''We were trying to pitch around him, and he still had three RBIs,'' Showalter said. ''And it isn't like he was just having a hot night - he's done that against everyone he's faced.''
Showalter's only problem was that he had trouble getting Wieters' attention to order the walk.
''I kept yelling for him, but the crowd and the announcer were so loud that he couldn't hear me,'' Showalter said. ''After the inning, I told him I had been worried that he wouldn't know I wanted to walk him, and he told me that if I hadn't called for the walk, he was going to do it himself.''
Millwood allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in six innings.
NOTES: Cabrera is the first American Leaguer to be intentionally walked 30 times in a season since John Olerud in 1993. ... The Tigers announced before the game that 2B Carlos Guillen would have exploratory knee surgery on Sept. 17 and will miss the rest of the season. Guillen has been out since injuring his left knee while turning a game-ending double play against the Yankees on Aug. 16. ... Brandon Snyder made his major league debut, playing first base in the ninth inning for the Orioles.