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Tigers hand Orioles first loss behind Avila's 5 RBI

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- Justin Verlander had never lost to Baltimore, and the Orioles hadn't been defeated all season.

Something had to give.

It wasn't Verlander, which means there's now one less unbeaten team in the major leagues.

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Alex Avila homered and had a career-high five RBI, and Verlander allowed four hits over eight innings to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 7-3 victory Wednesday night.

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez also connected for the Tigers, who became the first team this season to score more than one run against Baltimore.

"It was a good one. Good pitching, timely hitting, we hit a couple over the fence," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Justin did great coming out for that last inning like he did. We got some big hits from Alex and Victor. Overall, good game for us."

Derrek Lee hit his first homer with the Orioles and Vladimir Guerrero got his first RBI. But Baltimore came up short in a bid to match the franchise-record 5-0 start of the 1970 squad that went on to win the World Series.

"It felt good to square up a ball and get it over the fence," Lee said. "But it's kind of a moot point when you lose a game."

The loss left Texas and Cincinnati as the only unbeaten teams in the majors.

Avila, who came in batting .100, doubled in two runs in the fourth inning, hit a two-run homer in the fifth and added an RBI single in the eighth.

"I was more aggressive with my swings, that's for sure," Avila said. "I was able to work the counts better and put some good at-bats together. ... It was a good feeling to get some hits with guys on base."

Verlander (1-0) gave up three runs, struck out nine and walked two. He is 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA in eight career starts against Baltimore, including 4-0 at Camden Yards.

After going 19-9 in 2009 and 18-9 last season, the right-hander couldn't be happier about the start of this season.

"I definitely feel better at this point than I have in the past two years," Verlander said. "Definitely feel like I am throwing the ball better than I did at this point the last couple years."

Baltimore was impressed, too.

"Same thing we've been seeing for a while," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's one of the best pitchers in the game."

Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen (0-1) allowed four runs, two earned, and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. His performance raised the ERA of the starting staff from 0.69 to 1.21.

"It was tough. I just never seemed to get into any type of groove tonight," the right-hander said. "It seemed like I went full count on almost everyone, or deep counts, so that part really hurt."

Bergesen pitched in place of Jeremy Guthrie, who was released from the hospital Wednesday after being treated for a high fever. Guthrie hopes to rejoin the rotation Sunday against Texas.

Baltimore made only one error in its first four games, then committed two in the second inning to provide Detroit with a 2-0 lead. After second baseman Brian Roberts dropped a two-out popup to short right field, Bergesen walked Jhonny Peralta and threw wildly to second on an attempted pickoff. Avila followed with a double off the right-field scoreboard.

Prior to that, the Orioles had not trailed this season.

After Avila's homer made it 4-0 in the fourth, Lee connected in the bottom half following a one-out walk to Nick Markakis.

Cabrera and Martinez homered in succession in the fifth inning off Josh Rupe.

Guerrero made it 6-3 with an RBI single in the sixth, but he was thrown out by Avila trying to advance on the throw to the plate.

Notes

  • Attendance was 12,451, a significant drop from the sellout crowd of 46,593 at Baltimore's home opener Monday.
  • Orioles LF Luke Scott missed a third straight game with groin tightness. He was available to pinch hit.
  • Magglio Ordonez went 2 for 4 to raise his lifetime batting average against Baltimore to .343.
  • Lee's homer was his first in the AL. He has 313 career HRs.
  • Cabrera was credited with a ninth-inning single when his hard grounder became wedged in the webbing of third baseman Mark Reynolds.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Alex Avila, right, is congratulated during a productive game in which he racks up a career-high five RBI. (AP)
Alex Avila, right, is congratulated during a productive game in which he racks up a career-high five RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

A. Avila
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 5
Baltimore

D. Lee
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

Related Video

Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF5000012 .150
Will Rhymes, 2B4000110 .143
Magglio Ordonez, RF4020001 .200
    Casper Wells, PR-RF1000000 .000
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4121101 .368
Victor Martinez, DH5231002 .273
Brennan Boesch, LF3100001 .400
    Ryan Raburn, LF2110002 .364
Jhonny Peralta, SS3100102 .278
Alex Avila, C4135000 .286
Brandon Inge, 3B4010032 .316
Totals39712735  
Batting
2B - Victor Martinez (1, Gregg), Ryan Raburn (2, Gonzalez), Alex Avila (1, Bergesen), Brandon Inge (3, Bergesen)
HR - Miguel Cabrera (3, Rupe), Victor Martinez (2, Rupe), Alex Avila (1, Bergesen)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (6), Victor Martinez (3), Alex Avila 5 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera (3), Victor Martinez (1), Alex Avila 4 (4)
SB - Alex Avila (1, 2nd base off Gonzalez/Wieters)
Team LOB - 8
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Verlander (W,1-0) 8433291 3.86
Joaquin Benoit 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 108-75, Joaquin Benoit 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 7-7, Joaquin Benoit 2-1
Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 29, Joaquin Benoit 3
Baltimore Orioles
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brian Roberts, 2B3100111 .250
Nick Markakis, RF3100102 .353
Derrek Lee, 1B4112021 .222
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4021000 .200
Matt Wieters, C4000021 .294
Adam Jones, CF3000021 .105
Mark Reynolds, 3B3000010 .167
Felix Pie, LF3010000 .273
J.J. Hardy, SS3000011 .214
Totals3034329  
Batting
HR - Derrek Lee (1, Verlander)
RBI - Derrek Lee 2 (2), Vladimir Guerrero (1)
2-OUT RBI - Vladimir Guerrero (1)
SB - Brian Roberts (1, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Adam Jones 1
DP - Jones-Lee
E - Brad Bergesen (1, Throwing), Brian Roberts (1, Dropped fly)
Baltimore Orioles
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Brad Bergesen (L,0-1) 3.2542221 4.91
Josh Rupe 3322112 4.50
Mike Gonzalez 1.1211010 10.80
Kevin Gregg 1200010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Bergesen 89-55, Josh Rupe 51-33, Mike Gonzalez 25-16, Kevin Gregg 22-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Bergesen 1-8, Josh Rupe 5-3, Mike Gonzalez 1-2, Kevin Gregg 1-1
Batters Faced - Brad Bergesen 18, Josh Rupe 13, Mike Gonzalez 6, Kevin Gregg 5
Game Information
Attendance - 12451
Game Time - 2:51
Temperature - 63
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Derryl Cousins