DETROIT — Thanks to an untimely walk in the eighth inning, the Baltimore Orioles ended up facing Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded.
On the first pitch he faced, Cabrera turned a one-run deficit into a two-run lead and sent the Detroit Tigers on to a 6-2 victory Sunday.
“When you hit in the middle of the order, those are the situations you want,” said Cabrera, who leads the major leagues with 116 RBIs. “He threw me a fastball, and I got a good piece of it.”
With the Tigers ahead 2-1, Will Rhymes led off the eighth with a single against Mike Gonzalez (0-3) and took third on Ryan Raburn's double. Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought in David Hernandez, who got ahead 1-2 in the count to pinch-hitter Austin Jackson before loading the bases with a walk.
That foiled Showalter's plan to intentionally walk Cabrera. He already has 30 intentional walks this season, four short of Ted Williams' AL record.
“Obviously, at that point, we're hoping David can strike Jackson out so that we can walk Cabrera, but it didn't work out that way,” Showalter said. “You don't want to pitch to him in a situation like that — you've seen what he has done to every team in the major leagues this year.”
Two outs later, Brandon Inge hit a two-run homer off Alfredo Simon.
“It was huge when Will got the hit to start the inning, but Miggy got us the big hit again,” Inge said following his 11th home run this season. “If I were managing against him, I'm not sure I'd even pitch to him with the bases loaded. He just kills everyone.
Justin Verlander (16-8) struck out 11, matching his season high set June 16 against Washington. He allowed both runs and five hits in eight innings, and walked one.
“I felt great out there — as good as I've felt all year,” said Verlander, who is 11-3 at Comerica Park this season. “My fastball was good, and I could throw my curveball wherever I needed it — for strikes or balls.”
Phil Coke finished with a hitless ninth.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman only allowed one hit — Inge's clean single to center in the second — but walked a career-high six in his 62/3 innings.