BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Orioles once again battered Detroit’s shaky bullpen and pushed the Tigers to the brink of playoff elimination.
Pinch-hitter Delmon Young delivered another big postseason hit, lining a three-run double during a four-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the Orioles over the Tigers 7-6 Friday for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five A.L. Division Series.
J.J. Hardy made a nifty slide home, touching the plate with his hand barely ahead of the tag, for the go-ahead run. A Camden Yards crowd that saw the O’s fall behind Justin Verlander 5-2 in the early going erupted in an orange wave.
Now Baltimore will try for a sweep in Game 3 Sunday at Detroit, when Miguel Gonzalez starts against the Tigers’ third straight Cy Young winner in David Price.
A day after the Orioles battered Detroit relievers while scoring eight runs in the eighth for a 12-3 win, they came back from a three-run deficit.
Orioles fans cheered when Joba Chamberlain came in to pitch the eighth with a 6-3 lead – the crowd knew that Detroit’s bullpen was beleaguered.
Chamberlain hit Adam Jones with a pitch and gave up a single to Nelson Cruz, setting up Steve Pearce’s RBI single.
Joakim Soria entered and walked J.J. Hardy to load the bases for Young.
Young quickly cleared them with a liner into the left-field corner. J.D. Martinez bobbled the carom for an instant, and Hardy never broke stride in scoring.
Young went 10 for 20 as a pinch hitter during the regular season. He also was the A.L. championship series MVP in 2012 – for the Tigers – when they swept the Yankees.
In the top of the eighth, baserunning also was a key point. Miguel Cabrera was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Victor Martinez’s RBI double with no outs.
Zach Britton got three straight outs for the save.
Soria wound up with the loss.
The defeat left Detroit’s bid to reach the ALCS for a fourth straight year in serious jeopardy. The Tigers wasted home runs by J.D. Martinez and Nick Castellanos, along with a solid start by Verlander.
Rooted on by girlfriend Kate Upton, Verlander left in the sixth with a 5-3 lead. He appeared to try to talk first-year manager Brad Ausmus out of being pulled.
Brad Brach got the win, getting two outs in the eighth after Kevin Gausman allowed one run and three hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Detroit trailed 2-0 before peeling off five straight hits against Wei-Yin Chen. Torii Hunter singled, Cabrera doubled and Victor Martinez delivered an RBI single.
J.D. Martinez and Castellanos hit consecutive home runs, the second day in a row that Detroit’s done it.
Chen lasted only three more batters in his shortest outing since June 28 and left down 5-2.
Baltimore got a run back in the bottom half with a two-out RBI single by Hardy.
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