- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

BALTIMORE — There are few things more ignominious in baseball this season than losing to the Detroit Tigers.

Getting swept at home by the Tigers is one of them.

The Baltimore Orioles suffered that fate yesterday after Detroit left Camden Yards with a 9-4 victory to complete a three-game sweep before 22,770.

Light-hitting catcher Brandon Inge had the first two-homer game of his career and Gary Knotts won for the first time in six starts for the Tigers, who improved from a ghastly 4-25 to a somewhat more respectable 7-25 during their three-day stay in Baltimore.

“We’re riding the wave as long as we can,” said Detroit manager Alan Trammell, whose team has won four straight for the first time since last July. “We’re really not a finished product yet.”

The Orioles, who swept the Tigers last week in Detroit, limp into Kansas City tonight after completing a 1-5 homestand against the Tigers and Royals. Baltimore has lost a season-high four straight, and at 16-17 is under .500 for the first time in nearly two weeks.

“I don’t know that anyone is as bad as [3-25] in the big leagues,” Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. “They played us tough in Detroit. They got good pitching and they pitched very well in this series, too.”

Orioles designated hitter David Segui hit his first home run in more than a year in the first inning, but the Tigers rallied in the second. After Shane Halter drew a one-out walk, Inge smoked an Omar Daal fastball into the left field seats for his first homer since last July.

The teams swapped runs in the third before Inge struck again. The catcher, who entered the day hitting .127 with no extra-base hits, homered to right to lead off the fourth. Omar Infante’s single drove in another run to make it 5-2.

Daal (2-4), who struggled to locate his fastball and changeup all afternoon, was through after allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks in four innings. It was the first ineffective outing in four starts for the left-hander, whose ERA ballooned to 5.67.

“I’m not a power pitcher,” Daal said. “I have to keep all my pitches going. I just didn’t have any command.”

Baltimore loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Knotts (1-3) escaped the inning with the lead. He bobbled Jeff Conine’s sharp grounder back to the mound but still got an out at first before getting Jay Gibbons to hit a sacrifice fly and striking out Tony Batista to finish the inning.

Detroit added an insurance run in the seventh off Rick Bauer before Craig Monroe’s two-run homer capped a three-run rally against Jorge Julio in the ninth.

Baltimore was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. It was a stark contrast to the suddenly hot Tigers, who have scored at least six runs in five straight games after doing so only twice in their first 27 outings.

“They did everything right,” Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston said. “What are you going to do? They hit the ball hard. They’re hot and when a team gets on a roll like that, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing. You’re in the big leagues.”

Notes — Catcher Brook Fordyce, whose father died Tuesday, was placed on the bereavement list after the game and will miss at least three games. Roberto Machado, who split last season between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, was called up to replace him. The Orioles will make room on their 40-man roster by transferring pitcher Erik Bedard from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. … It was Detroit’s first three-game sweep at Camden Yards since September 1993. … Hairston stole his league-leading 12th base of the season.


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