Cabrera, Guillen homers lift Tigers past Orioles
Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen hit home runs in the fourth inning and Verlander got his first victory in almost a month to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.
Verlander (9-13) allowed two unearned runs and four hits in six innings, walking three and striking out six. His last win came against Baltimore on July 20, when he allowed a run and three hits in 8 2-3 innings.
“He threw strikes, he pitched great against us back-to-back times—he was better—plain and simple,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
Cabrera was also 3-for-4 and Gary Sheffield drove in two runs for Detroit, which won for only the fifth time in 16 games.
Baltimore had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Between wins against the Orioles, Verlander went through one of the worst stretches in his up-and-down career, going 0-4 with a 9.97 ERA in four starts. He said he didn’t do anything differently.
“Nothing really. Just a better quality of pitches,” he said.
He was also able to stifle a Baltimore offense which has been potent lately, scoring 66 runs in its previous eight games.
The Tigers bullpen came in with a 4.14 ERA, 20th in baseball, and has struggled for most of the season.
“The bullpen came in and got the job done tonight,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Orioles’ starter Dennis Sarfate (4-3) lasted 4 2-3 innings, giving up four runs and six hits. He has yet to last a full five innings in any of his four starts since joining the rotation. He’s allowed 18 earned runs in 15 2-3 innings during that stretch.
Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the second when Sheffield singled in Cabrera, who had led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch that didn’t bounce far away from the plate.
Cabrera had been bothered by a hip flexor injury for the past couple of months but he says he’s over it now.
“I feel better you know. It doesn’t bother me anymore,” Cabrera said. “No excuses, run hard … I feel like I’m 100 percent.”
He scored easily on Sheffield’s line single to left-center field.
“You just have to look past it,” Verlander said. “You can’t think about it … After that, Carlos picked me up in a big way.”
The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on solo homers by Cabrera and Guillen. Cabrera led off with his 25th, a 440-foot shot to left-center. One out later, Guillen lined the first pitch over the left-field fence for his 10th.
“Getting through the first inning today gave me some confidence,” Sarfate said. “But those two solo shots puts them ahead in the game and that’s where they stayed.”
Sheffield walked with the bases-loaded in the fifth.
Curtis Granderson hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth.
Roberts’ double-play grounder in the seventh brought in a run for the Orioles.
Detroit LHP Dontrelle Willis only walked two batters in six innings in his first start Friday night, for Triple-A Toledo. He got the win, allowing two runs and eight hits in six innings. He has been at Single-A Lakeland for most of the season working on his control. … Baltimore CF Lou Montanez didn’t start because of a sore hand after he was hit by a throw while running the bases Friday night. He came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth. … Guillen returned after missing three games with lower left back stiffness.
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