Home plate umpire Jim Joyce waits for Armando Galarraga to finish his warmup pitches. Friday night was the first time Joyce and Galarraga have been part of the same game since Galarraga's perfect game bid on June 2 was ended by a blown call at first base by Joyce in the ninth inning.
Duane Burleson / AP Enlarge
DETROIT - Jake Fox was a villain in more ways than one last night.
Not only did he hit a two-run homer to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 6-3, but the former Michigan Wolverines star did it on a night when Comerica Park was filled with Michigan State fans.
"It's always fun to play when you have a lot of friends and family in the crowd like I had tonight, but I was also hearing it from all the State fans," Fox said, one day before the Spartans play Florida Atlantic at nearby Ford Field. "They were chanting 'Go State' at me, and I thought about turning around and yelling 'Go Blue,' but I decided that can wait until we play each other in a few weeks."
Fox entered with a perfect 4-for-4 line against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga, including his first career homer, so Baltimore manager Buck Showalter had two reasons to play the light-hitting infielder.
"He's had some success against Galarraga, but this is also his town," Showalter said. "I was waiting for him to do the postgame interview with a Michigan football helmet on."
For Galarraga, most of the attention was focused on his reunion with umpire Jim Joyce. It was the first time they had been involved in the same game since Joyce's missed call with two outs in the ninth cost Galarraga a perfect game on June 2.
Joyce, who worked the plate, was applauded by the crowd when he was announced before the game. But that was the only sign anything unusual was happening.
Galarraga allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings. Any hope for another run at perfection ended quickly - Luke Scott hit a leadoff single in the second for Baltimore.
"I didn't think I was super good, but I wasn't bad, either," he said. "I mainly just made one bad pitch on Fox's home run."
The Orioles broke it open against Detroit's bullpen. Phil Coke (7-5) came in to pitch the eighth and was struck on his right ankle by Ty Wigginton's one-out liner, which went into foul territory near first for an infield hit. Nick Markakis followed with a single to center, and Wigginton took third when Austin Jackson misplayed the ball.
After Markakis took second on a wild pitch, Scott was intentionally walked, and Matt Wieters followed with a fly ball to right, giving the Orioles a 4-3 lead. Adam Jones added an RBI single off Robbie Weinhardt.
Brian Roberts hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth to make it 6-3, and Koji Uehara got three outs in the bottom half for his eighth save.