Wieters hitless in debut, but O's get win
The game began with the sizable crowd buzzing about Matt Wieters, who was about to make his much-anticipated major league debut.
Most of the 42,704 fans left the stadium talking about Luke Scott and Wieters' batterymate, Brad Bergesen.
Scott extended his recent power surge with a grand slam and a solo shot off Dontrelle Willis, and the surging Baltimore Orioles received a fine pitching performance from Bergesen in a 7-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Wieters went 0 for 4, the only Baltimore starter without a hit.
"I felt like I saw the ball well tonight," he said. "It's something that, an 0-for-4 day, you are going to have a lot of them in this game. You just got to go out there and try to find some holes."
Wieters' hitless debut might have been the only negative for the Orioles, who stretched their season-high winning streak to five games behind Scott and Bergesen (2-2) - who both received shaving-cream pies in the face during their post-game interviews.
It's a fun tradition that the Orioles began early in their five-game run, the team's longest winning streak since April 2-7, 2008.
Since coming off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, Scott has five home runs and 12 RBIs in three games. His second consecutive two-homer game included his first lifetime grand slam, a third-inning shot that put Baltimore up 5-0.
In the fifth, Scott hit a drive over the right-field scoreboard to become the first Oriole to have successive multihomer games since Albert Belle in 2000. The last three of Scott's seven career multihomer games have come against Detroit.
"I feel good and I've been seeing the ball well. I'm kind of excited to get back to playing," said Scott, who was sidelined from May 11-27 with a shoulder strain. "I've been chewing my fingernails off for the last two weeks."
Scott, a left-handed batter, usually fares better against righties. But he had no trouble against the left-handed throwing Willis (1-2).
"When he's hot and he's in one of his streaks, it doesn't matter who's pitching," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "You keep running him out there because he's a threat."
Willis allowed seven runs and 10 hits, his poorest outing in four starts since getting off the disabled list on May 13.
"Dontrelle didn't have his good stuff," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "They scored five runs on two swings of the bat."
Willis said, "I had a tough time getting my rhythm. When I got my rhythm, it was too late. The damage was done."
Much of the pregame hype surrounded Wieters, but another 23-year-old - Bergesen - was far more impressive. The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits over eight-plus innings to earn his first win in seven starts since his debut on April 21.
It was the longest outing of Bergesen's brief career, and the fewest runs he's allowed.
Detroit managed two seventh-inning runs on an RBI single by Curtis Granderson and a double-play grounder. After Bergesen gave up two hits to open the ninth, Jim Johnson got three straight outs.
"Obviously we would have liked for him to have a complete game," Trembley said. "But I like the mindset that Bergesen had. He expected to go out in the ninth. He wanted it, and that's what we're trying to develop."
Although Wieters was the only Orioles starter without a hit, he did a solid job as Bergesen's batterymate, a role he played in the minor leagues in early April and in 2008.
"Obviously he is a very talented guy. I'm sure he'll be a star," Leyland. "The reviews are just too good. He looked comfortable behind the plate. Actually, he looked comfortable at the plate even though he didn't get any hits."
Wieters got involved on the game's first pitch, picking up a bunt by Josh Anderson and firing a solid throw to first base.
"I figured that he might have that in mind - test the rookie catcher early - so I just had to make a play and move on," Wieters said.
When Wieters came to the plate for the first time in the second inning, the crowd stood and cheered - and remained standing through the entire at-bat. There were two runners on and no outs, but Wieters managed only an opposite-field liner to right field that turned into a double play when Melvin Mora was doubled up trying to advance.
Wieters followed with two groundouts and a strikeout.
The start of the game was delayed 26 minutes by rain. ... Detroit's Magglio Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 15 games. ... Orioles C Chad Moeller was designated for assignment to make room for Wieters.