- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BALTIMORE (AP) - Tommy Hunter stood in the middle of a pack of reporters, patiently answering each question.

It was a situation no closer wants to be in. Sort of like facing Miguel Cabrera with two outs in the ninth inning with the outcome hanging in the balance.

Hunter let a slim lead slip away by yielding a three-run homer to Cabrera, and the Baltimore Orioles lost to the Detroit Tigers 4-1 Tuesday night.

In his first season as a closer, Hunter has 11 saves as the successor to Jim Johnson. But he has blown three save chances, pitched shakily in a few other outings and owns an unsightly 6.60 ERA.

His grip on the job is as slippery as a wet baseball.

“I’m not going to get in to handicapping, this means that and that means this,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll constantly see what gives us the best option to pitch nine innings, and be competitive and continue to be in first place. And that’s what we’ll do.”

Said Hunter: “It’s my job today. We’ll see.”

Hunter held a 1-0 lead before giving up a leadoff single to Alex Avila. Pinch-runner Rajai Davis was called out trying to steal, but Detroit manager Brad Ausmus challenged the call. After looking at the replay, umpires ruled Davis safe at second.

“The instant replay was probably the turning point, I guess,” Ausmus said.

Hunter (1-1) got two straight outs before working the count on Torii Hunter to 1-2. The at-bat ended in a walk.

“You can’t let arguably one of the best hitters in the game come to the plate,” Tommy Hunter said. “You’ve got to throw a strike right there and I missed.”

Two pitches later, Cabrera connected.

“It’s a chance that we win or we’re going to lose,” Cabrera said. “You don’t have to think too much of it. You’ve got to go out there and try and see what happens.”

Victor Martinez followed Cabrera’s sixth home run with a shot to right that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the scoreboard in right field.

Justin Miller (1-1) pitched one inning to earn his first big league win and Joe Nathan got three outs for his ninth save. Nathan has seven saves and a 0.00 ERA in his last eight outings.

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