With team in transition, Tigers hold on in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Although it appears that Detroit Tigers' management has turned its attention toward next season, manager Brad Ausmus and his players remain focused on doing something special this year.
Yoenis Cespedes homered and drove in three runs, and the Tigers beat Baltimore 9-8 on Thursday night after trading two of their best pitchers.
Mired in fourth place in the AL Central, Detroit dealt starter David Price to Toronto and closer Joakim Soria to Pittsburgh the day before the non-waiver trade deadline.
"I would much rather be acquiring than I would be trading. But it's just where we are at this point," general manager Dave Dombrowski conceded.
After an active day of dealing, the Tigers kept busy on the bases. Detroit finished with 16 hits, including three apiece by Cespedes, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias.
Although short-handed, the Tigers don't intend to quit in their pursuit of a wild-card spot.
"We're not giving up," Ausmus said. "Would we rather have Price and Soria? Of course. But we don't."
Not only that, but Cespedes could be gone by Friday if the fire sale continues.
"I don't know what's going to happen with him," Ausmus said, "but I'll keep him as long as they let me."
The Tigers led 7-0 in the fourth inning and 9-2 in the sixth before surviving Baltimore's comeback bid. And so, a day that began with two shocking trades ended with a feel-good win.
"As far as this team is concerned, we're still in the wild card," catcher James McCann said. "We're still right there, so why not make a run?"
Chris Davis homered and had four RBIs, and Adam Jones also went deep for the Orioles, whose five-game winning streak ended. Baltimore gave up only seven runs in those five games.
A two-run single by Davis and an RBI base hit by Matt Wieters made it 9-7 in the seventh, and Baltimore stranded the potential tying run at third in the eighth.
The comeback left manager Buck Showalter with a positive to take out of what could have been an ugly defeat.
"I'll tell you, that was pretty impressive, our guys battling their way back in that," he said.
Tigers starter Alfredo Simon (10-6), who came in with a 7.46 ERA in July, allowed four runs and two hits in 5 2-3 innings against the team he pitched for from 2008-11.
Alex Wilson, filling the closer's role after Soria's departure, got four outs for his first save.
Miguel Gonzalez (9-7) allowed five runs and a career-high-tying 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings for Baltimore. He was replaced by Bud Norris, who yielded four runs and six hits over 2 2-3 innings.
"They definitely came out and swung the bat pretty good," Gonzalez said. "They were aggressive since the first inning."
Seven of the first nine Detroit batters got hits, but the only damaging blow was a two-run double by J.D. Martinez in the first.
The Tigers batted around in a five-run fourth. Rajai Davis tripled in two runs and Kinsler hit an RBI single before Cespedes connected with a man on against Norris.
Jones homered in the bottom half after Nolan Reimold walked. It was Jones' 182nd home run as an Oriole, tied with Ken Singleton for seventh on the franchise list.
Detroit made it 9-2 in the sixth when Cespedes singled in a run and Martinez added an RBI double.
Davis chased Simon with a two-run drive in the Orioles' half. It was his 25th homer of the season and sixth in nine games.
Tigers: Ausmus conceded it won't be easy to win without Price (9-4, 2.53 ERA, 138 strikeouts). "When you lose a pitcher like David Price, you don't generally think you're getting better," he said.
Orioles: Asked if he expected the Orioles to pull off a trade before Friday afternoon, Showalter said, "That's the bet. If you told me to bet on which side of it, I'll take 51-49."
Tigers: RHP Buck Farmer (0-2, 9.22 ERA) seeks his first major league win on Friday night. He has three starts this season -- one apiece in May, June and July.
Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-6, 2.88 ERA) makes his 20th start of the season. He leads Baltimore in innings, strikeouts and home runs allowed.