Tigers 7, Orioles 2
The four-day break for the All-Star game did absolutely nothing to slow the momentum of the resurgent Detroit Tigers.
Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta homered, Doug Fister pitched seven innings of three-hit ball, and Detroit beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 on Friday night for its sixth straight victory.
Brennan Boesh had two RBIs for the Tigers, who moved three games over .500 (45-42) for the first time since April 24, when they were 10-7.
''We had a little break from each other, saw our families and did whatever we needed to do for a few days,'' Fister said. ''We came back, reconvened, and we played well together. That's the biggest key for us.''
Eight players totaled 13 hits for the Tigers, who went 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position and scored six of their seven runs with two outs.
''Everybody came out hot and we were swinging the bats well,'' Fister said.
Cabrera hit his 19th home run in the fifth inning, a majestic drive to center off Luis Ayala that traveled an estimated 454 feet and provided Detroit with a 4-1 lead. Four batters later, Peralta hit a three-run, opposite-field shot to right off Dana Eveland.
Fister (3-6) gave up one run, struck out eight and walked none to earn his first road win in seven tries this season. Fister, who retired 12 straight at one point, has won two straight starts after dropping three in a row.
''It was a good way to start,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ''He had little bit of a tough first half physically. I wanted to show a little confidence in him. I thought it was good to get him out there right off the bat and he responded very well.''
Detroit's Delmon Young had two hits and scored a run, but his streak of games with at least one home run ended at four, one short of the club record.
Orioles starter Jason Hammel (8-6) left in the fourth inning with a right knee injury. After throwing a pitch to Boesh, Hammel came off the mound awkwardly. He took a few practice throws before being removed by manager Buck Showalter.
It's the same knee that has been bothering Hammel for much of the season, and the Orioles can only hope the right-hander won't miss much time. Hammel, Baltimore's winningest pitcher, allowed two runs and five hits in three-plus innings. He has lost his last four starts.
''I was driving toward the plate and it didn't feel good,'' Hammel said. ''Something felt really bad. It's the same area as the injury was before. It's kind of just day to day. We scheduled an MRI for (Saturday) and we'll find out more, but as of right now, we don't really know what's going on here.''
Like Hammel, Baltimore is experiencing a substantial drop off following a surprisingly strong start. The Orioles have lost seven of 10 and are 6-14 in their last 20 games.
Sidelined with a wrist injury since May 29, Baltimore's Nick Markakis returned to the lineup and hit in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career. He went 1 for 4 with a third-inning RBI.
Baltimore scored its other run in the ninth when All-Star Matt Wieters doubled in All-Star Adam Jones.
With Markakis back in right field, Chris Davis played left field in the majors for the first time. Showalter said he was willing to take the risk because Davis ''makes up for it with his bat.''
Davis didn't make an error, but he didn't get a hit, either.
The Tigers averaged 6.2 runs in the five games before the All-Star break, and in the first inning it became apparent that the four-day layoff did nothing to hamper their productivity. Three of the first four Detroit batters singled to load the bases, and a two-out single by Boesh made it 2-0.
Baltimore ended the season's first half by being shut out in consecutive games by the Angels, and the Orioles' run of consecutive scoreless innings stretched to 24 until doubles by Wilson Betemit and Markakis made it 2-1 in the third.
After Hammel left in the fourth, Ayala retired the first two batters before giving up successive doubles to Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn.
NOTES: The Orioles activated OF Endy Chavez (hamstring) from the 15-day DL. OF Xavier Avery was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday. ... The Tigers recalled INF Danny Worth from Triple-A Toledo. RHP Jose Ortega was optioned to Toledo on Sunday. ... Showalter says 2B Brian Roberts is still weighing his options on how to deal with a groin injury that put him on the DL on July 3. One of those options is surgery. ''It's a challenging decision for him,'' Showalter said. ... The Orioles agreed to terms with LSU pitcher Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft. He received a standing ovation after the third inning.