BALTIMORE -- Brian Matusz finished with a flourish, taking some of the sting out of a frustrating rookie season.
Matusz struck out a career-high nine to win his sixth consecutive decision, Nick Markakis homered and the Baltimore Orioles beat Detroit 2-1 Saturday night, handing the Tigers their sixth straight loss.
"I felt strong for being my 32nd start this year," Matusz said. "It's a good feeling knowing I came out this strong and I was able to finish the season [with] no injuries. That was one of my goals, to be able to make all my starts and finishing strong like that really makes the year a lot better."
Matusz (10-12) allowed a run on two hits and a walk in six innings. The left-hander is 6-0 in his last eight starts and the six straight victories tie a career high.
It was an impressive rebound for a pitcher who won once in 18 starts from May 24 through July 29 and was 3-11 entering August.
"I went through a streak where I wasn't in my groove and I felt horrible. The best part about it was I was able to ... stick with it and turn the season around," Matusz said. "That's huge, especially being my rookie season -- being able to go through hard times like that and really make it a strong last few months."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter wasn't at the helm when Matusz was struggling, so it's hard for him to imagine there were whispers about his now-dominant lefty needing more minor league seasoning.
"I've had very few times out there where I thought [Matusz] was going to have a tough time," Showalter said. "He's got a lot of ways to defend himself."
The Orioles have won four straight and improved to 34-22 since Showalter took over as manager Aug. 2.
"You've got to go out and play nine innings as a team, and I think we've been doing that lately, learning to win as a team and win those close games," Markakis said.
Brandon Inge homered for the Tigers, who must win Sunday's season finale to avoid finishing under .500.
"We didn't play bad," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "We certainly didn't pitch bad. We didn't do much offensively, obviously. You've got to give their pitcher a lot of credit for that."
Armando Galarraga (4-9), who lost his fourth straight decision, yielded two runs on three hits over eight innings. He walked one and struck out seven in his second career complete game.
"You can't pitch much better than that, but their guy did just a little bit better," Leyland said.
After Inge's second-inning homer, the Tigers failed to advance a runner to second base.
Michael Gonzalez worked the seventh, Jim Johnson pitched the eighth and Koji Uehara got three outs for his 13th save.
The Orioles came up with two sterling defensive plays in the eighth. Shortstop Cesar Izturis ranged deep into the hole to field pinch-hitter Will Rhymes' grounder and his throw to first beat the speedy runner for the first out. Austin Jackson then hit a ball on which right fielder Markakis made a diving grab to prevent an extra-base hit.
With a victory Sunday, the Orioles will earn a four-game home sweep of the Tigers for the first time since April 17-20, 1992.
Inge put the Tigers ahead in the second with his 12th homer.
Galarraga retired the first 10 Orioles in order before Markakis homered to right, tying the game in the fourth.
The right-hander blamed himself for Markakis' 12th homer, which came on a sinker that moved the wrong way.
"It was a bad pitch," Galarraga said. "For some reason, it went in toward him and he got a good swing."
Matt Wieters' sacrifice fly gave Baltimore the lead in the fifth. Felix Pie led off with a double, moved to third on Ty Wigginton's groundout and scored when Wieters hit a deep drive that died on the warning track in center.Notes
Galarraga's previous complete game came June 2, when he nearly pitched a perfect game against Cleveland. ... Orioles 2B Brian Roberts missed his fifth straight game with headaches, and Showalter said Roberts probably would not play Sunday. ... 1B-DH Luke Scott was chosen Most Valuable Oriole in a media vote. ... Since Sept. 2, the Tigers have 34 homers in 28 games. ... LHP Phil Coke, who has made 73 relief appearances this year, will start Sunday for the Tigers, who are without a starting pitcher after playing doubleheaders Wednesday and Friday.