DETROIT — In 12 previous meetings, the Baltimore Orioles had not beaten Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander. They snapped that dubious streak Tuesday night at Comerica Park, beating the former Cy Young Award winner and the Tigers, 5-2, in front of 34,706.
Verlander entered with an 8-0 record against the Orioles — the only active pitcher with at least 10 starts to be unbeaten against them — and an equally impressive 2.93 ERA.
But the Orioles hit two homers off Verlander and took advantage of four walks in chasing him after just five innings.
The Orioles (41-31) won their 21st game on the road, tying them with the Boston Red Sox for most in the American League. With a win in Wednesday’s series finale, the Orioles can extend their majors-leading series win total to 16 heading into an off-day in Toronto.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his third homer in two games against Verlander this season. It came on a 1-1 hanging curveball for a two-run shot that opened the scoring in the fourth inning.
Center fielder Adam Jones followed the next inning with a three-run shot for his 15th of the season. His came on a first-pitch 95-mph fastball that went into the right field stands.
Verlander has yielded seven homers this season; four have been hit by the Orioles. The Orioles lead the majors with 95 homers.
In two starts against the Orioles this season, Verlander has pitched to a 6.00 ERA, well below his season 3.72 mark. Even more uncharacteristic were Verlander’s four walks Tuesday, the second-most he’s issued through 15 starts.
Meantime, called up from Class AAA Norfolk before the game to make a spot start, Orioles left-hander Zach Britton held the Tigers to one run and five hits over 51 / 3 innings. He was pulled after 92 pitches.
Britton built on his recent success at Norfolk, where he recorded four quality starts in his past five outings, pitching to a 2.03 ERA in that span.
The 25-year-old had made one previous start with the Orioles this season.
— Baltimore Sun