The Detroit Tigers are in unfamiliar territory. They’ve won three straight and are one win away from sweeping a series.
The major league-worst Tigers look to continue their modest resurgence as they complete a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
By winning the first two games against the Orioles, the Tigers are already assured of winning their first series since last Aug. 16-18, when they took two of three in Baltimore.
Despite a dismal 6-25 record, Detroit’s rookie manager Alan Trammell has refused to give up on his team.
“It would be very easy for us to listen to everybody and say, ‘We’re no good and can’t play,”’ Trammell said. “But we’re still competing.”
Detroit has not swept a series since taking three straight from Kansas City last July 23-25. The Tigers have been swept 14 times since.
Dmitri Young went 5-for-5 with two homers, two triples and five RBIs on Tuesday as the Tigers won their third straight with a 7-6 victory.
Young’s five hits were a career high and helped lift his batting average 39 points to .229. He also singled, and would have hit for the cycle if he stopped at second instead of hustling to third on a ninth-inning hit off reliever Buddy Groom.
“It’s bizarre. I cannot even fathom what went down tonight,” said Young, who is batting .643 (9-for-14) with two homers and eight RBIs over the last four games.
“By the time it soaks in, I have to be back out here.”
The Orioles have lost four of five since sweeping a three-game set in Detroit last week. Baltimore scored 22 runs in that series, but has pushed across only seven in the last two games against the Tigers.
Tony Batista went 0-for-4 on Tuesday to snap a six-game hitting streak. Batista, who leads the Orioles with five home runs, hasn’t homered in the last eight games.
The Orioles haven’t been swept in a three-game set since Sept. 27-29 against the New York Yankees.
STANDINGS (through May 5): Tigers - 5th place, 14 1/2 GB, AL Central. Orioles - 3rd place, 7 GB, AL East.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Gary Knotts (0-3, 4.39 ERA). The 26-year-old right-hander surrendered just one run over 7 2-3 innings, but took the loss in a 2-0 setback to Tampa Bay on Friday. Knotts is making his first career appearance against Baltimore.
ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Omar Daal (2-3, 5.05 ERA). Daal is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA over his last three starts. The veteran left-hander earned a win Thursday by limiting the Tigers to three runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 6-4 victory. Daal is 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA in three career appearances against the Tigers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Bobby Higginson, .252 avg. and 15 runs; Young, 5 HRs and 16 RBIs; Higginson and Omar Infante, 2 SBs. Orioles - Jerry Hairston, .293 avg. and 11 SBs; Batista, 5 HRs and 19 runs; Jeff Conine, 20 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Orioles, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - OF-DH Young is 10-for-20 with three homers and 11 RBIs against Baltimore this year. … OF Higginson has four straight multi-hit game. He’s batting .529 (9-for-17) over that span. … The Tigers have won as many games in the past three days as they did from March 31-May 3. Orioles - The Tigers are the only team Baltimore has swept this year. … 2B Hairston’s 11 stolen bases top the AL. … The Orioles have outscored their opponents 21-6 in the first inning this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 4-13 on the road; Orioles - 8-10 at home.
INJURIES: Tigers - RHP Danny Patterson (elbow), 15-day DL. Orioles - OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 15-day DL; OF B.J. Surhoff (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Rodrigo Lopez (ribs), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL.