DETROIT, JULY 24 -- The Detroit Tigers figured out how to beat the hottest team in baseball: hit it deep and don't let the other guys hit it very much at all.
The Tigers hit four homers -- including three into Tiger Stadium's upper deck off Baltimore Orioles starter John Mitchell (2-3) -- and Jeff Robinson took a no-hitter into the eighth inning as the Tigers pounded the Orioles, 8-2, in front of 16,393 tonight.
Robinson held the Orioles hitless until consecutive no-out homers by Mike Devereaux and Brady Anderson in the eighth.
"Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to a pitcher," said Orioles first baseman Randy Milligan. "He took us out of our game. And you can't play any better than they did."
Anderson's homer -- his first of the season and sixth of his career -- hit the facing of the third deck, but it barely made a dent on this night of long bashes.
Cecil Fielder, Lloyd Moseby and former Oriole Larry Sheets homered into the upper deck off Mitchell, and Travis Fryman homered off Joe Price to provide the Tigers with more than enough offense.
Moseby brought home two runs in the seventh on a two-out double to left-center off Brian Holton.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Orioles (47-49), who came into the game with the major leagues' best record, 10-3, since the all-star break. It also prevented them from reaching .500 for the first time since June 12.
But the Orioles remained four games behind Al East-leading Toronto, which lost by 5-3 to Kansas City in 13 innings.
The Tigers (46-52) did the things that the Orioles have done lately, combining timely hits with solid starting pitching.
Robinson's near-gem wasn't pretty: He allowed eight base runners -- five on walks -- and retired the side in order only twice through the seventh. By the time the eighth rolled around, he had thrown 117 pitches.
"By the eighth, I was trying for the shutout," said Robinson (8-7), who entered the game with a 5.25 ERA and only one complete game.
He tied a career best with seven strikeouts, but was relieved by Jerry Don Gleaton at the start of the ninth.
Robinson's wildness, rather than hurting the Tigers, helped him keep the Orioles off-balance and was a key factor in his effectiveness.
"I call it effective wildness," said Milligan, who drew two of Robinson's five walks and leads the majors with 82. "He was just wild enough that we couldn't sit on a pitch."
Meanwhile, the Tigers liked what they got from Mitchell. In the third, Fielder hit a shot to left that landed 10 rows back in the upper deck, some 450 feet away. It was his major league-leading 32nd homer and 82nd RBI.
The only question about the homer was where -- and if -- it would come down. Only Harmon Killebrew in 1962 and Frank Howard in 1968 have hit a ball out of the park in left field.
Moseby's homer, his eighth of the year, landed eight rows back in right field.
Mitchell gave up a one-out double to Lou Whitaker in the fifth, then walked Tony Phillips on five pitches. That brought up Fielder again.
This time Mitchell struck him out. But Sheets got him instead, nailing a 1-0 pitch into the upper deck in right.
Fryman's homer paled in comparison, landing in the first deck in right-center.
With Robinson keeping the Orioles baffled, the Tigers' offensive surge was merely a bonus.
There was one controversial scoring call before Devereaux ruined the no-hitter: Chet Lemon dropped the ball on a deep line drive by designated hitter Sam Horn with none out in the seventh.
Lemon ran a long way, and the ball was hit hard, but it hit him in the glove.
Horn obviously thought it was a hit, and still was angry about official scorer Rich Shook's ruling.
"I know baseball," said Horn, "and the pitcher always gets the benefit of the doubt in that situation, but I'd like to see the official scorer chase that ball down. I'm not asking for a gift, just what I deserve. They're going to have to come to our park, and I hope they get the same treatment."
Home runs by Devereaux and Anderson made the point moot, so far as the no-hitter was concerned.
Anderson missed by about 12 feet of being the first batter since Kirk Gibson on Sept. 9, 1986 to hit one out of Tiger Stadium.
"Devo and I were talking," said Anderson, "and I told him I was going to break it up. He said 'You're going to have to do it after me.' "
Baseball custom says that a pitcher's teammates never talk about his no-hitter while it's still going on. But in the opposite dugout, "You talk about it all you can, to try to jinx him," said Devereaux. "We knew we would get to him sooner or later."
No one had no-hit the Orioles since Milwaukee's Juan Nieves did it April 15, 1987, in Baltimore.
"I always thought someone would get to him," said Orioles Manager Frank Robinson. "He only needed six outs, but six outs is a lot of outs to get."
Frank Robinson said that Jeff Ballard (1-9) will not start either game of Saturday's doubleheader at Kansas City.
Instead, Pete Harnisch and Dave Johnson will start in the doubleheader, meaning one of them will pitch on three days' rest Tuesday against Toronto at home. Robinson hasn't decided whom to use Tuesday. . . .
As if the Orioles needed any more good news about their pitching, Dan Boone, a pitcher for their Class AAA Rochester club threw a no-hitter to beat the Syracuse Chiefs, 2-0, Monday in the first game of a doubleheader.
The only base runner he allowed in the seven-inning gem was on an error by third baseman Leo Gomez.
The no-hitter overshadowed a two-hitter thrown by Mike Smith in the first game, which the Red Wings won, 1-0.