Daniel Norris makes Tigers debut Sunday
Ubaldo Jimenez struggled against the Detroit Tigers in his first start after the All-Star break but a return to Camden Yards -- where he's often performed well -- helped quickly put an end to his second-half funk.
He'll get to face the Tigers again Sunday (12:30 pregame, 1:35 first pitch on FOX Sports Detroit) this time in Baltimore, and there's a chance he could avoid facing J.D. Martinez in the Orioles' attempt at an eighth win in nine games.
After giving up one run in 20 innings in his final three starts before the break, Jimenez (8-6, 3.73 ERA) allowed seven in 4 2-3 innings in a 7-3 loss in Detroit on July 17. He had an even worse performance six days later at Yankee Stadium, giving up seven runs in 2 1-3 innings in a 9-3 loss, before claiming a 7-3 win over Atlanta on Tuesday.
Jimenez yielded two runs and four hits in seven innings to win his third straight home start. He's 6-1 with a 2.13 ERA in eight games in Baltimore and 2-5 with a 5.25 ERA in 12 on the road.
"It always good when you find a way to get back on track, especially after having two really tough games," he told MLB's official website. "It felt really good to go out there and compete and give the team a chance to win."
Baltimore (53-50) has five wins in its past six home contests and is one game behind Minnesota for the AL's second wild card. The Orioles are also two back of Los Angeles for the top spot.
Baltimore has totaled 22 runs and 31 hits in its three games against Detroit (50-54) after batting .212 and averaging 3.3 runs in its previous nine.
The Tigers, losers in 13 of 19 and nine of 12 on the road, had 16 runs and 32 hits while splitting the first two games in this series then registered six hits Saturday. Martinez was forced to leave after fouling a pitch off his left knee in the second inning.
X-rays were negative for the right fielder, who is among the AL leaders with a career-high 28 homers and 68 RBIs, and he's considered day to day. The Tigers are already missing Miguel Cabrera (calf) and traded Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets on Friday.
"I want to play," said Martinez, who hit a solo homer off Jimenez on July 17. "I'm going to do everything I can."
If Martinez sits out, that might aid Jimenez's attempt for a rare win against the Tigers. He's 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in his past four matchups with two of the last three taking place in Detroit, where he's 2-8 with a 7.39 ERA in 10 starts.
Jimenez pitched seven scoreless innings in his only meeting with the Tigers at Camden Yards, a 4-1 loss May 13, 2014.
Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.86) will make his first start for Detroit after being acquired from Toronto on Thursday in the David Price trade. Norris will also make his first start in the majors since April 30 and his first against Baltimore.
"I feel like I couldn't be put in a better situation, an immediate opportunity to compete in the big leagues," Norris said. "I'm happy about that, kind of itching to get out there and throw."
J.J. Hardy, the owner of a 15-game hit streak, singled in his lone at-bat against the left-hander. Gerardo Parra, acquired from Milwaukee on Friday, extended his hit streak to 15 games in his Orioles debut.
Parra, batting .453 during that run and .389 in his last 44 games, has never faced Norris.