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Tigers play long ball in win over Orioles

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Detroit did not want to get dragged into any type of controversy Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles, so instead, the Tigers let their bats do most of the talking.

Detroit hit three consecutive home runs in the fourth inning, leading to the ejection of Baltimore Orioles starter Jason Hammel after he hit the next batter, and the Tigers cruised to a 10-3 victory on Saturday before an announced crowd of 38,945 at Orioles Park.

"I don't think he was throwing at him at all," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It looked like a curve ball that he threw. ... However, in defense of the umpire, he might not have known it was a curve ball, because in the shadows, it was tough to see. No, in my heart, I do not think he was throwing at him."

After Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila hit home runs for a 4-1 lead, Hammel hit Matt Tuiasosopo on the shoulder in the next at-bat and immediately was ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

Hammel and Orioles manager Buck Showalter argued the ejection and the Tigers did not retaliate by hitting an Orioles batter.

T.J. McFarland entered for the Orioles and allowed a single and then RBI double to Tuiasosopo. After loading the bases, McFarland gave up a grand slam to Miguel Cabrera for a 9-1 lead.

"Obviously it doesn't look good in that situation when a team hits three in a row on you and then you throw a pitch up at my head," Tuiasosopo said. "It doesn't look good whether it was on purpose or not. All I know is that pitch was going at my head and that's not cool. He got thrown out. He got his."

The Tigers tied a club record with four home runs in an inning and set a set a season high with five in a game. It was the first time the Orioles allowed that many home runs in an inning.

Detroit coasted the rest of the way behind ace Justin Verlander, who entered the game 7-0 with a 2.85 ERA in 11 career starts against the Orioles.

Verlander allowed three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk in seven innings.

Prince Fielder also hit a home run for the Tigers. Tuiasosopo went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run.

J.J. Hardy hit two home runs for the Orioles and has 12 this season. It was the 10th multihomer game of his career.

"Our boys came out and scored a bunch of runs early for me," Verlander said. "I made two bad pitches to Hardy. Keep moving in the right direction. It's always nice when you can get a big cushion."

Hammel struggled for much of his short outing, allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and a hit batter in three-plus innings. He took his second loss in his last four starts and fell to 7-3 this season. Hammel insisted he did not mean to hit Tuiasosopo, which earned him his first career ejection.

"I'm not going to make a big deal of it," Hammel sad. "I hit him with a slider. Zero intent there to hit him. Obviously I give up three home runs, but I'm not the guy that answers getting hit around with hitting somebody. That's bush league if you ask me. It was a mistake. A slider that got away.

"I did not have command today and of the three walks before that in two innings ... should have told him the story. Obviously, very frustrated. Cost the bullpen a lot of innings.

Crew chief Jerry Lane told a pool reporter the ejection was justified."

"Rulebook says that the umpire can deem if the pitch is intentional, especially at the head," Lane said. "There's no warnings that need to be given. ... That's when we feel we have to control the game and to control the game to keep a retaliation from occurring, that's what happens."

Detroit opened a 1-0 lead in second on a two-out, RBI single by Tuiasosopo that scored Martinez, who walked.

Hardy tied the game when he led off the third with his 11th home run of the season.

Detroit broke open the game with eight runs in the fourth, when the Tigers sent 11 batters to the plate. Chris Davis picked up an RBI-single for the Orioles in the bottom half of that inning.

Fielder, however, boosted the lead to 10-3 with his 10th home run in the sixth.

After the game, most of the conversation centered on Hammel's ejection

"You can issue a warning there," Showalter said. "Obviously, three balls left the park and then a breaking ball hits the guy. You put yourself in their shoes and put yourself in our shoes. That's what I try to do.

"I can't speak for the umpire. I understand the intent of what they're trying to do. But I've got a real biased opinion of it, and it's pretty obvious to us there was nothing intentional about it."

Notes: Fielder had reached base safely the last eight times before flying out in the first inning on Saturday. ... Cabrera entered June batting .372 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs. He is the first player in major-league history to be batting at least .340 with 15 or more home runs and 60 or more RBIs on June 1. ... Chris Davis' 19 home runs in May were second most by any Oriole in that month behind Brady Anderson, who had 20 in 1996. ... Hardy snapped an 0-for-11 skid with his home run in the third.
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