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(Saturday, April 5th)
Final Score: Detroit 7, Baltimore 6
Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Torii Hunter provided five RBI and the Detroit Tigers held off the Baltimore Orioles, 7-6, Saturday in the middle contest of a three-game set.
Hunter's bases-clearing double in the third brought in three runs, while his two-run homer in the fifth helped the Tigers stay undefeated with their fourth straight win to open the season.
"I'm just trying to be relaxed up there at the plate," said Hunter. "I just got some good pitches in the strike zone and was able to capitalize on them."
Don Kelly went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Rick Porcello (1-0) surrendered just one run on three hits with three strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings.
Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy each had two hits for Baltimore. Starter Bud Norris (0-1) was tagged for five runs on nine hits over five innings in the Orioles' fourth straight loss.
Down 7-1 in the ninth, the Orioles strung together a five-run rally in the final frame. Adam Jones smoked a line drive into the center-field gap for a triple off reliever Phil Coke that scored Davis. Nick Markakis' groundout scored Jones from third, and Coke walked Hardy. After Al Alburquerque failed to retire Matt Wieters, closer Joe Nathan entered the game.
Steve Lombardozzi drove a line drive over a leaping Hunter for a single to load the bases with one out. Pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger then ripped a ground-rule double down the line in right to bring in two runs.
David Lough followed with a grounder to short that Alex Gonzalez tracked down, but his throw to first was wide right to allow Lombardozzi to score from third and cut the lead to 7-6.
Nathan recovered to strike out Nelson Cruz on a full count before getting Davis to fly out to end the game.
"We scored six. That should be enough to win, but it wasn't," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter.
Baltimore got off to a good start in the opening frame. Porcello issued a leadoff walk to Lough, who immediately stole second. Two batters later, Davis lined a single to left, scoring Lough to give the O's an early lead.
Gonzalez, Kelly, and Ian Kinsler all singled to load the bases with one out in the third before Hunter launched a fastball off the left-field wall, clearing the bases with a double to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
Rajai Davis singled, stole second, and moved to third on Kinsler's groundout in the fifth. Two pitches later, Hunter drove a fastball over the left-field wall to make it a 5-1 game.
Brian Matusz took the mound in the sixth to replace Norris. Gonzalez was walked with one out and made it home after Kelly tripled on a deep flyball to right that landed over the head of Cruz. Davis' sac fly to center plated Kelly to make it a 7-1 game in the sixth.
Porcello retired nine straight batters before he was lifted with two outs in the seventh for Evan Reed.
Hunter's five RBI were the most against Baltimore since Shane Victorino drove in seven runs for Boston on Aug. 27, 2013 ... Hardy returned to the lineup after sitting out on Friday due to lower back spasms ... Nathan is perfect in 12 career save opportunities against Baltimore.
04/05 18:16:17 ET
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