Published April 07, 2011
BALTIMORE – The Detroit Tigers couldn't pack their bags fast enough after ending their opening road trip with a disappointing defeat.
The Tigers received another lackluster performance from their pitching staff Thursday night in a 9-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, a setback that left Detroit with a 2-4 record and took a bit of the luster off Friday's long-awaited home opener against Kansas City.
"We were looking to get home at .500 and we had a shot at that tonight and we let it get away," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We played six games and we're 2-4. That's what we deserve to be. (Friday), we'll try to make it 3-4. If we pitch well, we'll have a shot."
Detroit headed home with a staff ERA of 7.02. After starter Brad Penny failed to get through the sixth inning, three relievers were touched for five runs in the pivotal seventh inning.
Alex Avila homered for the Tigers, who blew leads of 2-0, 4-2 and 5-4.
"This team battled and we had a chance to win that game," Penny said. "I let it go in the sixth and it kind of snowballed from there. This team is going to hit. Once we start pitching, it's going to be a fun year."
"Anybody on any given night can be a hero," said Jones, who came in batting .105. "Tonight Guerrero had two RBIs, I had a few and Reynolds had a few. ... Just imagine if all nine of us are doing it in one night."
Baltimore took two of three from the Tigers after opening the season with a three-game sweep in Tampa Bay. The Orioles didn't win their second series last year until May 13 and didn't capture consecutive series until after manager Buck Showalter arrived in August.
Baltimore sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh. After Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis reached against Brad Thomas (0-1), Guerrero singled in a run off Enrique Gonzalez and Jones hit a sacrifice fly for a 6-5 lead. Reynolds followed with a two-run double and Cesar Izturis capped the uprising with an RBI single.
Jim Johnson (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of one-hit relief for Baltimore.
Avila, who had a homer and four RBIs on Wednesday night, again played a starring role for the Tigers. Besides hitting a fifth-inning homer, he began the seventh with a walk off Jeremy Accardo and scored on Austin Jackson's double to left to put Detroit up 5-4.
The lead quickly vanished in the bottom half.
After throwing six innings of no-hit ball on Saturday at Tampa Bay, Orioles starter Chris Tillman gave up four runs and six hits over 4 2-3 innings in his follow-up performance. The contrast was evident at the outset, when Jackson, Detroit's leadoff hitter, got the first of four singles in a two-run first.
"This is a guy who didn't give up a hit in his last start," Leyland said. "I thought we did a pretty good job on him. One more killer blow there, another base hit (in the first inning), might have changed things. We still had our shot. We had a 2-0 lead and a 4-2 lead."
Baltimore pulled even in the second. After Guerrero homered to straightaway center, Jones beat out a bunt, stole second and scored on a single by Reynolds.
The Tigers went up 4-2 with a two-run fifth. Avila got it started with a drive over the right-field wall, Will Rhymes walked with two outs and Brennan Boesch chased Tillman with a double to right-center.
In the Baltimore sixth, Luke Scott doubled with one out and Jones followed with his first home run of the season to chase Penny.
NOTES: Baltimore's original lineup had Felix Pie in LF and J.J. Hardy at SS. But Scott (groin) returned from a three-game absence to replace Pie, and Izturis was a late sub for Hardy, who felt tightness in his lower left rib cage. ... Detroit placed RHP Ryan Perry (eye infection) on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 5, and recalled RHP Robbie Weinhardt from Triple-A Toledo. ... The Orioles pulled off a rare 8-9 out on the scorecard when a liner by Martinez bounced out of Jones' glove and was snagged by Markakis. Umpires didn't see the ball hit the wall before Markakis latched on.