- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 10, 2002

DETROIT (AP) Rookie Mike Maroth was two outs away from his first major league shutout when he was pulled from last night's game.

Even so, he was more than happy to be part of a combined shutout as the Detroit Tigers blanked the Baltimore Orioles 3-0.

"It was still close, it was the ninth inning, and we've got to win the game," Maroth said. "[Manager Luis Pujols] gave me the chance to finish, but I'm just happy we won."

Making his 12th career start, Maroth (4-4) gave up six hits in 8⅓ innings. He struck out three and walked one.

The 24-year-old left-hander exited after Gary Matthews Jr. singled for his second hit of the night. Juan Acevedo closed for his 21st save, completing the Tigers' sixth shutout of the season.

"He just kept us off-balance," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. "I think in some cases we went after him a little too hard, but give credit where credit is due."

Maroth also got a boost in the first inning, when Matthews hit a two-out fly ball that Detroit left fielder Bobby Higginson caught in front of the 395-foot marker.

"That ball is gone anywhere but here," said Detroit catcher Brandon Inge, who had two hits in the game. "Here, we get the out and we're out of the inning."

Maroth improved to 3-1 with an ERA of 1.30 at Detroit's Comerica Park this season.

"A big ballpark helps," he said. "It gives you confidence that you can throw strikes and challenge hitters. You can be a little aggressive, because you know it's tough to hit one out."

Maroth, who threw 72 of his 113 pitches for strikes, was aided by a key double play in the sixth inning.

With one out in the Baltimore sixth, Melvin Mora was thrown out at the plate by Higginson when he tried to score on a fly ball by Matthews.

"All I had to do was play catch," Higginson said of the throw to Inge, which beat Mora by a large margin.

Jason Johnson (3-9), activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, pitched the first five innings for the Orioles.

"I'm sick and tired of losing," he said. "I had good pitches but fell short. That's the story of this year so far."

The Tigers scored in the third when Chris Truby walked and George Lombard hit an RBI double with two outs.

In the sixth, Randall Simon singled off Orioles reliever Yorkis Perez, moved to third on Robert Fick's single and scored when Mora's throw to third was wild.

Fick hit his 14th homer in the eighth.

Notes Inge broke a 0-for-19 slump. The game was the first between the teams since May 17, 2001, a span of 239 games. In that time, the Tigers had played Kansas City 31 times, while Baltimore had played Philadelphia 12 times Detroit LHP Adam Pettyjohn, on the disabled list the entire season with colitis, is scheduled to undergo the last of three surgeries to treat the condition on Sept.6. Truby's walk was his second in 171 plate appearances since he was traded to the Tigers from Montreal May 16.

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