Not Quite Enough

Both Teams Have A Shot, But Tigers' Jackson Wins Duel Vs. Guthrie

August 06, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

DETROIT - -In a season in which little seemingly has gone right for Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie, the enigmatic right-hander posted one of his best outings of the year Wednesday night, cruising through seven innings while pitching the way he did much of 2008.

Typically of Guthrie's 2009 campaign, however, it wasn't enough.

Detroit's Edwin Jackson was even more dominant, and the Tigers broke through against the Orioles' bullpen in a three-run eighth for a 4-2 victory at Comerica Park.

"Jackson pitched a little better," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "But you've got to be pleased with how Guthrie pitched tonight. He was very good."

Whether Guthrie was pleased with the six-hit, three-run outing is a mystery. He refused to enter the clubhouse and talk to the media afterward, instead issuing a statement through a club spokesman.

"Had good command of my fastball, kept the slider down," the spokesman repeated.

"The guys battled for me. Edwin Jackson outlasted me."

Guthrie, who often chides and jokes with reporters even on days in which he starts, offered no explanation as to why he wouldn't speak after the game.

It was simply another befuddling moment in a baffling year for the club's Opening Day starter and the designated pitching mentor for a young rotation.

Guthrie, who is 7-11 with a 5.28 ERA, has won just three of his past 12 starts. But he excelled most of Wednesday, yielding four hits and one run - Magglio Ordonez's fifth-inning solo homer - heading into the eighth.

He allowed two singles to the first three batters in the inning and left trailing 1-0. Mark Hendrickson retired the lone batter he faced, but Cla Meredith surrendered three consecutive singles to put the Tigers up 4-0.

Guthrie was saddled with three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings, his second quality start in four outings since the All-Star break.

"That's how you expect him to pitch. You expect Guthrie to pitch like that," Trembley said. "He matched Jackson, who was at the top of his game tonight. And Guthrie was equally impressive."

Jackson, who threw eight shutout innings against the Orioles at Camden Yards in May, carried a shutout bid into the ninth before plunking Nolan Reimold and then surrendering Adam Jones' 19th homer of the season.

Jackson (8-5) allowed three hits and a walk in eight-plus innings while striking out eight. It was Jackson's fourth straight victory over the Orioles and second this season. He lowered his season ERA to 2.62, second best in the American League.

"He had A-plus stuff," Orioles designated hitter Luke Scott said. "He had a 95- to a 98-mph fastball working. He had good location with it. He had a tough slider, tough curveball, mixed in the changeup. There really wasn't any mistakes to hit."

Closer Fernando Rodney entered after Jones' homer and put the potential tying runs on base, but fanned Gregg Zaun with two outs to secure his 22nd save.

The game remained scoreless until Guthrie served up Ordonez's sixth homer of the year. The Tigers outfielder was 5-for-8 against Guthrie heading into the at-bat.

Guthrie now has allowed at least one long ball in six straight starts and in 17 of the 22 games he has pitched this year. He has given up 27 so far in 2009, tops in the American League and tied for most in the majors with the San Diego Padres' Josh Geer. In 30 games last year, Guthrie allowed 24.

Guthrie is one loss away from tying his career-high of 12. Meanwhile, the Orioles (45-62) have dropped four of their first five games in August and are 5-14 since the All-Star break.

Guthrie "had a real good plan. He kept attacking, his pace was quick, he had everything working for him tonight," Trembley said. It's just unfortunate we matched up against Jackson who, for the second time this year that we faced him, was stingy. He was special."

Box score

Wednesday's game PG 4

ORIOLES @TIGERS

Today, 1:05 p.m.

TV: MASN HD

Radio: 105.7 FM

Inside

Ray believes he's back on track PG 5

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