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Published: Sunday, 5/31/2009

Tigers stop Orioles

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Detroit's Justin Verlander allowed three runs off nine hits in six innings over the Orioles. He leads the AL with 90 strikeouts. Detroit's Justin Verlander allowed three runs off nine hits in six innings over the Orioles. He leads the AL with 90 strikeouts.
GAIL BURTON / AP Enlarge

BALTIMORE - On a night in which Baltimore's Luke Scott extended his home-run hitting streak to four games, the Detroit Tigers benefited from an unexpected power surge of their own.

Clete Thomas hit a pair of solo home runs, and Detroit provided Justin Verlander with his sixth straight win by pulling away to a 6-3 victory Saturday night.

Thomas, who came in with two homers in 191 career at-bats, connected in the third and seventh innings. The second drive, off Matt Albers (0-2), put Detroit up 4-3.

Selected by the Tigers in the sixth round of the 2005 amateur draft, Thomas played three seasons in the minor leagues before jockeying between Triple-A Toledo and Detroit last season.

"I don't think I've ever done it in professional ball," he said. "It's there. It's just a matter of getting it to show up. It showed up tonight."

Thomas added an RBI double in the eighth. Curtis Granderson also homered for the Tigers, and Magglio Ordonez had three hits.

The defeat ended Baltimore's five-game winning streak. The Orioles trailed 3-1 in the sixth before Scott hit his sixth home run in four games, a two-run drive that traveled an estimated 420 feet. The shot came on a 3-2 pitch from Verlander after he fouled off several tough pitches.

"The pitch I hit was a fastball, right down the middle," Scott said. "It was probably the only mistake pitch I had all night."

But Thomas quickly put Detroit back in front with his third homer of the season.

"Luke Scott is amazing," Thomas said. "He ties it up, and I end up hitting another one to give Justin the win. That made it even more special."

Said Verlander: "I just gave him a big hard high-five. Obviously that was the pivotal point in the game."

Since returning from the disabled list Wednesday, Scott has gone 8-for-15 with 14 RBIs. He has five homers in his last three games, all against Detroit.

"I won't be pitching to him with an open base [Sunday]," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He's really in a groove."

Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters had a triple and a double after going 0-for-4 in his much-anticipated major league debut Friday. He also scored his first run.

Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander matched his career high with 10 strikeouts, becoming the first Oriole to reach double figures since Erik Bedard against Texas on Aug. 21, 2007.

"I absolutely take that as a positive. It's a sign of location, it's a sign of movement, and that's absolutely a positive for me, moving forward," Guthrie said.

But the two homers he surrendered upped his season total to 13 - second-most in AL and six more than any of his teammates.

Verlander allowed 3 runs and 9 hits in 6 innings. He walked 1 and struck out 5, extending his AL-leading total to 90.

"Not the way I would have drawn it up. It wasn't easy for me out there tonight, but my guys picked me up," Verlander said.

Fernando Rodney got three outs for his ninth save.

After Granderson hit his 12th homer leading off the second and Thomas went deep in the third, an RBI single by Ryan Raburn made it 3-0 in the fourth.

In the bottom half, Baltimore got runners at the corners with two outs before Scott lofted a fly to center.

One inning later, Wieters got his first big-league hit - a triple to center - and scored on a single by Nolan Reimold. The Orioles then loaded the bases with no outs before Adam Jones bounced into a 1-2-3 double play and Nick Markakis struck out on three pitches.

Baltimore finished 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

NOTES: Ordonez stretched his hitting streak to 16 games, four short of his career high. ... Detroit's Brandon Inge ended an 0-for-13 skid with a fourth-inning single. ... The last Baltimore player to homer in four straight games was Miguel Tejada in 2005. Scott is the 15th Oriole to do it.



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