Roberts’ HR leads O’s to win, best start since ’97

Posted: 05/04/2011 in MLB

Orioles top Tigers, improve to 4-0

Brian Roberts belted a three-run homer to key a four-run fifth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles began their home schedule with a 5-1 victory over Detroit in the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards.

Matt Wieters added an RBI single in the rally and the Orioles improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1997.

It’s early, of course, but Baltimore sits atop the competitive American League East after giving up just one run in each of its first four games.

“The starting pitching has been everything you can ask for,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Jake Arrieta (1-0) earned the victory in Monday’s game, giving up one run on six hits and two walks in six strong innings. He struck out three, following the fine performances of Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, who made starts in Baltimore’s three-game sweep of the reigning AL East-champion Rays over the weekend.

The Orioles allowed just one run in each of those games, as well.

“It’s just one of those things where you want to follow their lead. We just want to take the ball and run with it,” said Arrieta. “I think each quality outing brings confidence.”

Tigers starter Rick Porcello (0-1) took the loss, giving up all five runs on nine hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out four, but his wild pitch in the bottom of the second scored the other Baltimore run.

Wieters scored from third when Porcello bounced a pitch in the dirt that catcher Alex Avila couldn’t wrangle, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

The Tigers, after losing two of three to the Yankees over the weekend, came right back to tie the game in the top of the third. Brandon Inge hit a one-out double and scored after back-to-back singles from Austin Jackson and Will Rhymes.

The Orioles put the game away with their four-run rally in the fifth, sparked by Felix Pie’s leadoff single. J.J. Hardy followed with a double and Roberts deposited a low 2-1 pitch over the wall in right field to make it 4-1. Nick Markakis doubled after that and scored on Wieters’ two-out single to left.

Jason Berken struck out three in two scoreless innings and Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth to seal the win for Baltimore.

“We had chances, we just couldn’t cash in on them,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

– Steve


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