DETROIT--It's the proverbial cat and mouse game. The cat has emerged triumphant in each occasion while the mouse, well, hasn't fared so well. The Detroit Tigers went into the series finale against the Baltimore Orioles with a 4-0 record, howbeit with a battle in all but one of them.
Justin Verlander made his second appearance of the season and was dominant against Orioles pitchers for five innings, allowing only 2 hits. Verlander's third strikeout advanced him past Tommy Bridges and into fourth place for the Tigers' franchise all-time record with 1,675 strikeouts. But he ran into trouble in the sixth and eighth innings, where he allowed two runs to score.
Adam Jones hit a double to center field that went over the head of Austin Jackson. A deep shot double to the right field wall by Nelson Cruz tied the game 1-1. The Orioles had a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning which put them ahead of the Tigers 2-1 but a running catch by Tyler Collins prevented further damage.
Al Alburquerque came out to pitch the ninth inning and promptly allowed a home run to score off the bat of Matt Wieters into the Tigers bullpen with one out to further put the score at 3-1 in favor of the Orioles. Two singles by Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Flaherty further threatened but Alburquerque got Jonathan Schoop to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman had a few tricks up his sleeve on Sunday and held the Tigers to four scoreless innings before Torii Hunter broke a developing Orioles no-hitter. Hunter has now hit a home run in each of the last three consecutive games.
The Tigers' bats remained quiet for the duration of the game until the ninth inning when Victor Martinez hit a bullet off Chris Tillman that stayed fair just long enough for a double. But that was all the Tigers would get as their winning streak came to an end and Justin Verlander was handed his first loss of the season.
The Tigers go on the road next to play five interleague games, starting with a two game series against the Dodgers followed by a three game series with the Padres. They return home afterward for a 10-game home stretch. The first game against the Dodgers will take place on Tuesday at 10:10 p.m. ET.