- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

BALTIMORE | Aubrey Huff remembers Edwin Jackson in 2006 when both played for Tampa Bay.

After Jackson pitched eight innings of two-hit ball to lead the Detroit Tigers over the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 on Sunday, Huff determined the right-hander bears little resemblance to his teammate of two years ago.

“He wasn’t even close to that. He definitely has developed probably some of the nastiest stuff in the big leagues this year,” said Huff, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. “When he was in Tampa, he wasn’t going over 94 [mph]. Now he has got 98 with a hard slider and a change-up. I don’t know where that came from.”

Jackson (5-3) permitted only three baserunners and faced only two batters over the minimum. Nick Markakis hit a fourth-inning single; Robert Andino walked in the sixth and was caught stealing; and Ty Wigginton hit a leadoff double in the eighth.

Jackson, who struck out seven, came within an inning of his second career complete game. He was pulled by manager Jim Leyland after throwing 101 pitches.

“A little bit of a tough spot in the eighth inning [so] he had to work a little harder,” Leyland said. “That’s why I took him out.”

While he was in there, however, Jackson was overwhelming.

“I was just trying to come out and be aggressive and mix my pitches up,” he said. “I’ve seen them in the past, and I know what they can do. You have to mix it up to keep them honest.”

After facing Detroit ace Justin Verlander on Saturday, the Orioles were forced to go up against the new-and-improved Jackson.

“Honestly, the last two guys are probably the best back-to-back I have seen in my nine years,” Huff said.

Fernando Rodney allowed a walk but got three outs to complete the two-hitter and earn his 10th save in 10 tries. It was Detroit’s major league-high seventh shutout of the season.

Making his second big league start, Baltimore rookie Jason Berken (1-1) gave up one run, four hits and two walks in seven innings. The only glaring flaw in his outing was a fourth-inning solo homer by Curtis Granderson.

Berken was pleased with his performance but conceded he wasn’t quite as good as Jackson.

“Yeah, I mean he threw the ball outstanding, obviously,” Berken said. “Especially against the lineup we have. It’s one of the better lineups, and he threw the ball extremely well.”

Starting in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career, Granderson hit his team-high 13th homer to provide Jackson with all the offense he needed.

“I made one mistake and left the ball up, and Granderson hit it out,” Berken said.

Jeff Larish doubled in a run off Danys Baez in the eighth, and Clete Thomas hit an RBI double against Mark Henderickson in the ninth.

Baltimore’s Luke Scott went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, ending a streak in which he hit six homers in four games. During that span he was 8-for-15 with 14 RBI.

Playing as a designated hitter after catching his first two big league games Friday and Saturday, Orioles newcomer Matt Wieters was hitless in three at-bats.

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