Tigers-Orioles Preview

The Associated Press

Prince Fielder capped a strong first half in his first season with the Detroit Tigers by winning his second Home Run Derby crown.

Now one of the game's most feared lefty swingers gets his first chance to take aim at an inviting B&O Warehouse.

Fielder will make his first appearance at Camden Yards as the Tigers look to extend their season-high win streak to six Friday night in the opener of a three-game set against the surprising Baltimore Orioles, who have activated injured outfielder Nick Markakis.

Signed to a $214 million, nine-year contract by Detroit (44-42) in the offseason, Fielder has turned in his typical production with 15 homers and 63 RBIs to rank second on the team in those departments to Miguel Cabrera.

"I think the baseball stays the same, but as far as off the field and getting to know your teammates, that's a little different," said Fielder, who has three homers and 10 RBIs during this win streak. "But once the game starts, it's the same."

Fielder totaled 28 home runs over three rounds to win Monday's Home Run Derby in Kansas City. He had the four longest drives of the night, including a pair at 476 feet.

That distance would be enough to reach B&O Warehouse, which sits 439 feet from home plate beyond right field at Camden Yards. Fielder's only previous games against Baltimore (45-40) came when he went 5 for 11 with three homers in a 2008 series in Milwaukee.

Markakis is set to make his first appearance since May 29 after being on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a broken bone in his wrist.

He's 6 for 14 off Tigers starter Doug Fister (2-6, 4.75 ERA), who is 0-4 with a 4.89 ERA in six road outings. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA in four career starts against the Orioles.

Baltimore starter Jason Hammel (8-5, 3.47) is the staff leader in victories, but he's 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA in his last three outings. He's 2-0 with a 6.61 ERA in three career starts against Detroit.

Fielder is 2 for 10 with a homer against the right-hander while Jhonny Peralta is 5 for 12.

The Orioles are over .500 at the All-Star break for the first time since 2005, although they have dropped nine of 13. They are optimistic about ending a string of 14 straight losing seasons since the franchise's last playoff berth in 1997.

"The story's yet to be written," manager Buck Showalter said. "The season's not over. It's an unfinished story. I mean, everybody this time of year knows they've done some things good and some things that they've got to do better at.

"It's more of a mental thing than anything else. We've got some important times ahead of us and we want to stay competitive."

Detroit has been a disappointment after winning 95 games to capture the AL Central last year and then adding Fielder. The Tigers are in third place in the division, but have been playing better lately and sit 3 1/2 games behind Chicago.

These clubs split 10 meetings last year.

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