DETROIT, JULY 23 -- The Baltimore Orioles, the hottest team in baseball, continued their march toward the top of the AL East tonight with a 13-3 thrashing of a team going the opposite direction, the Detroit Tigers.
The Orioles, whose 10-3 record since the all-star break is the best in the majors, moved within a game of .500 in front of 14,458 at Tiger Stadium.
Mike Devereaux had six RBI, including his first career grand slam -- it came in a seven-run third inning -- and a two-run triple in the ninth, when the Orioles scored their other six runs.
"We've been getting the big hits lately," Manager Frank Robinson said. "Basically, we've been doing that ever since the break. That's something we weren't doing in the first half."
With four victories over the surprising Chicago White Sox last weekend, the Orioles (47-48) have won five straight and trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by just four games.
Dave Johnson (9-6) got the victory with a career-high seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. It was his first success in three starts since the break.
The Tigers (45-52), meanwhile, are 4-9 since the break, but only seven games out of first.
The Orioles jumped all over starter Frank Tanana in the third inning, scoring seven runs on consecutive RBI by Joe Orsulak and Randy Milligan, three consecutive walks and Devereaux's grand slam -- all with two outs.
Bill Ripken doubled with one out and scored one out later when Orsulak singled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, tops by an Oriole this season. Randy Milligan followed with a double to left, scoring Orsulak.
Still, Tanana still couldn't get out of the inning. He walked Mickey Tettleton, Cal Ripken and Craig Worthington to force home Milligan.
That unforgivable sin sent Tanana to the showers; Tettleton, Ripken and Worthington had been 13 for 82 (.159) since July 14.
The Orioles have beaten the Tigers with walks before: In April, the Tigers walked 35 in a four-game series, losing three times.
After Tanana came out, Clay Parker served up a fat 1-1 pitch and Devereaux turned it into the Orioles' second grand slam this season.
"That was my first slam since I was 12," he said. "But the one I hit when I was 12 was a serious bomb -- it went off the lights."
The 10 batters that inning provided seven runs, as many as the Orioles have scored in any inning this season.
"It seems like one night, someone has a big game, then the next night it's someone else, then the next night and on and on," said Robinson. "And alongside that, everyone else is doing little things to win."
One of the "little things" was defense: the Orioles' fielding was again impeccable. Center fielder Devereaux and right fielder Orsulak each threw out a runner at second base, and the Orioles were error-free for the 10th time in 11 games.
Tanana's ugly pitching line: 2 2/3 innings, 4 hits, 6 earned runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts.
This was the latest in a series of debacles for him. A three-time all-star, he is 0-3 with a 10.43 ERA in his last seven starts.
Given such a huge lead, Johnson relaxed when the Orioles came out in the third. He relaxed a bit too much on a 0-1 pitch to rookie shortstop Travis Fryman, who hit the ball into the upper deck in left for his second major league homer.
Johnson has given up 23 homers, most in the majors.
"I don't understand this home run thing," he said. "Every time I make a mistake, it's not a single, it's not a double, it's not off the wall. It's a homer."
The Tigers' frustration showed. Chet Lemon was ejected for arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck.
Then in the Orioles' big ninth, Tigers catcher Mike Heath was tossed, according to Hirschbeck, for threatening to let a pitch hit Hirschbeck.
Heath's verbal assault was more violent, and it appeared that he bumped Hirschbeck, which could result in suspension when the tape of the incident is reviewed.
The Orioles went on to score six times off Mike Henneman, the first two on Cal Ripken's rare bases-loaded hit. He went into the game two for 31 with the bases loaded since the beginning of 1989.
Devereaux's triple brought home two more. He came into the game eight for 17 (.471) in his last 20 games with men in scoring position.
Trammell's leadoff bloop double in the eighth nearly lost Cal Ripken his errorless streak, which reached 92 games tonight.
Trammell hit a pop fly down the left field line, and Ripken, third baseman Worthington and left fielder Phil Bradley converged. Ripken got to the ball first and slid for it; it glanced off his glove. It was ruled a double.
Ripken's only error of the year was here on April 13, the third game of the year, when he mishandled a grounder by Cecil Fielder.
After giving up Devereaux's grand slam, Parker cooled off the Orioles for 5 1/3 innings. The homer was the only blotch. Otherwise he walked three and struck out four in holding the Orioles scoreless, but the damage had already been done.
When Henneman came in to pitch the ninth, the damage began again. He gave up five hits and six runs (five earned) in two-thirds of an inning.