Orioles, Tigers battling to avoid worst record

Field Level Media

The Baltimore Orioles will leave Detroit after a four-game series with one consolation -- they won't have the worst record in baseball.

The Orioles suffered their 100th loss of the season on Saturday when Detroit's John Hicks hit a 12th-inning grand slam for an 8-4 Tigers victory. But the Tigers have already lost 103 games.

The teams will play the third game of the series on Sunday.

Baltimore held the ignominious title of worst team in baseball before the Tigers sunk below them after the All-Star break. Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini, who hit a three-run homer on Saturday, wants to keep it that way.

"I know the players on both teams don't enjoy losing, and we don't like where we are right now, but I think that's definitely motivation," Mancini told the Baltimore Sun. "This series might have a lot of implications on the first pick of the draft, but as players, you obviously don't want your team to have the first pick in the draft. It's not a great feeling.

"I definitely think that's a motivator, and no matter what situation you're in, whether you're battling for a playoff spot or battling to not have the worst record in baseball, I think we all have enough motivation to win games every day, and that's what we're going to try to do."

Baltimore's scheduled starter on Sunday, Asher Wojciechowski, has gone 0-5 with three no-decisions and a 7.05 ERA in his last eight outings. He lasted just two innings against Texas on Sept. 8 while allowing four runs on six hits. In his most recent road start on Sept. 2, he gave up four runs in seven innings at Tampa Bay.

Wojciechowski (2-8, 5.51 ERA) has never faced the Tigers.

Opposing Wojciechowski will be right-hander Edwin Jackson (3-9, 9.76 ERA). On other teams, Jackson would have been pulled from the rotation by now. He has surrendered 26 earned runs and 36 hits in just 19 1/3 innings over his last five starts, with an ERA of 12.10

He recorded only six outs against the New York Yankees on Tuesday while giving up six runs on six hits, including two homers.

While pitching for Toronto this season, Jackson notched a victory over the Orioles on June 12, giving up two runs on four hits in five innings.

Jackson, who just turned 36 last week, has traditionally pitched well against Baltimore, posting a 7-1 record and 3.11 ERA in 12 career appearances, including nine starts.

Hicks could be back in the lineup again on Sunday, especially since designated hitter Miguel Cabrera left Saturday's game with a sore right knee.

Hicks, who came into the season as a platoon catcher, has struggled at the plate much of the season. His three-hit night on Saturday to raise his season average to .217. The home run was his 12th of the season.

"He needs at-bats, and the way to do it (Saturday) was to put him at first base because we've got three catchers now," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The only way he's going to get back in the swing of it is to get at-bats like that. He got plenty of them tonight, and the last one was the biggest."

--Field Level Media

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