Play It Again

July 21, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

A recap of the Orioles' 5-1 loss to the Tigers yesterday:

Done in the sixth

Orioles starter Brian Burres was the victim of another high pitch count and left after 5 1/3 innings. He threw 108 pitches, the last one resulting in a bloop single by Ryan Raburn that extended Detroit's lead to 3-1. Burres surrendered a two-out, solo home run to Magglio Ordonez in the third inning to lose a 1-0 lead, and Marcus Thames wrapped a ball around the left-field foul pole with one out in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie. Burres retired 14 of 18 batters before Thames' homer. The left-hander threw 28 pitches in the first inning and loaded the bases with two outs on two walks and a single. He struck out Thames on a slider to escape the jam.

To the rescue

The Tigers' bullpen was fried and needed Justin Verlander to stick around for a while, which was exactly what he did, coming within an out of a complete-game three-hitter. Verlander walked Melvin Mora with two outs and looked stunned when manager Jim Leyland stepped out of the dugout. Verlander allowed one hit - Luke Scott's RBI double in the second inning - and retired 16 in a row before Kevin Millar doubled with two outs in the seventh. The Orioles had two base runners before Millar's double; Aubrey Huff walked leading off the second. Guillermo Quiroz singled in the eighth and was wiped out on a double play. Verlander needed only 68 pitches to get through the sixth inning - the same number Burres threw after three.

A little insurance

The Tigers added two more runs in the eighth, both charged to reliever Lance Cormier. Pitching in back-to-back games for only the second time this season, Cormier allowed a single to Miguel Cabrera and a double to Thames to begin the inning. Rule 5 pick Randor Bierd, making his first appearance since April 29, allowed Brandon Inge's RBI grounder and Raburn's run-scoring single.

On deck

The 11-day homestand continues with the first of four games against the Toronto Blue Jays (7:05 p.m.), who are a half game ahead of the Orioles for fourth place in the American League East. Orioles rookie Radhames Liz needs a good outing. He has allowed 12 earned runs (14 total) in his past two starts, covering six innings. He has walked eight and surrendered four home runs. High pitch counts also remain an issue. Jesse Litsch has lost five of his past six decisions.

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