The Detroit Tigers go for a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles and their longest overall winning streak of 2007, when the teams conclude their season series on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park.
After dropping its first matchup with Baltimore (12-15) this season, Detroit (15-11) has rattled off four straight wins in the series while outscoring the Orioles 20-10. Pinch-hitter Sean Casey’s RBI single in the eighth inning on Tuesday lifted the Tigers to a 5-4 victory. Detroit won Monday night’s series opener 8-4.
It was only the second RBI of the season for Casey, who is batting .203 and recovering from the flu.
“I kind of struggled through the first month of April,” Casey said. “And, hopefully, it’s a good sign for me in May.”
Craig Monroe homered and Placido Polanco went 4-for-5 with two RBIs for the Tigers, who are going for their season-high fourth straight win and first sweep of 2007. Polanco has a team-high .376 batting average and is a .357 lifetime hitter versus the Orioles.
Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games - going 21-for-43 in that span - and is 5-for-13 with a homer in his career versus Steve Trachsel, who will take the mound for Baltimore on Wednesday.
The Orioles have lost eight of their last nine games overall, and four straight series. Melvin Mora homered and Miguel Tejada went 2-for-5 with two RBIs on Tuesday, but Baltimore went 1-for-16 with men in scoring position and stranded 10 baserunners.
“We had chances early to put it away but couldn’t, we then had to battle all night,” said Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, whose team is trying to avoid its fourth straight road loss. “We need someone to come through with the big hits to extend the lead. We just haven’t been able to do that.”
The Orioles have also struggled to get their offense going against Nate Robertson (2-1, 2.43 ERA), who will take the ball for Detroit on Wednesday. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA in his last three starts versus the Orioles, allowing just two runs through 21 1-3 innings, and is 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA in six career starts against them.
Robertson is trying for his first win since April 10, which also came against Baltimore. He pitched 7 1-3 shutout innings in that contest, scattering four hits and striking out five in a 3-1 victory.
He has not recorded a decision in either of his last two starts, including Friday’s 5-3 loss to Minnesota, when he allowed three runs over seven innings.
Trachsel (1-2, 4.13) is trying to rebound from his second loss in three starts. The 36-year-old right-hander allowed two runs, five hits and four walks over 5 2-3 innings of a 5-4 defeat to Cleveland on Friday.
Trachsel, a 15-year veteran who spent the last six seasons with the New York Mets, is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in two career starts versus the Tigers.