Monday, May 30, 2005

BALTIMORE — Craig Monroe and Dmitri Young helped the Detroit Tigers accomplish what no other team in the majors has done this season: hand the Baltimore Orioles a third consecutive defeat.

Monroe’s third homer in three games highlighted a six-run seventh inning, and the Tigers completed a three-game sweep with an 8-6 victory yesterday.

Young went 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and three RBI. He’s 10-for-21 with three homers against the Orioles this season, one reason why Detroit is 4-1 against Baltimore after going 0-6 last year.

The Tigers came in with a four-game losing streak, but now they’re on a roll.

“It’s nice to break through what kind of skid we’ve been on and be able to sweep a first-place team like the Baltimore Orioles,” Young said. “We came here and regrouped.”

Five times previously, the American League East-leading Orioles put the brakes on a two-game skid. After taking a 6-1 lead in the fifth inning, Baltimore appeared poised to do it again.

But the bullpen ruined a fine effort by starter Bruce Chen.

Baltimore led 6-2 in the seventh when Chen was replaced by Steve Reed after walking leadoff hitter Vance Wilson. Reed (0-2) gave up two singles to load the bases, then retired Ramon Martinez on a short fly ball before Young hit a two-run double.

Monroe followed with his eighth homer, a three-run shot to left, to make it 7-6. Monroe homered in each of the three games in the series after going 10 games without a home run.

“He threw me a good slider but I was able to stay down through it and drive it out,” Monroe said.

Omar Infante, who struck out three times against Chen, added an RBI single off Steve Kline.

Detroit’s previous biggest comeback this season was from a two-run deficit, on May11 against Texas. The Tigers’ sweep of Baltimore ended a road trip that began with three straight losses against the New York Yankees.

“I think it’s going to do a lot for this team,” Monroe said. “We went into New York and we didn’t fare well. You left there not feeling good, but to come here and take three from these guys definitely lifts that confidence level.”

Chris Spurling (1-0) allowed two runs in two innings in relief of starter Wilfredo Ledezma.

Ugueth Urbina, the sixth Detroit pitcher, worked the ninth for his eighth save, the third in the series.

Baltimore opens a 13-game road trip today with a four-game series against the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

“Today would have been a big win for us, but we’ve got to move on,” said Rafael Palmeiro, who made the final out.

As they prepared to depart, the Orioles hoped to leave behind all thoughts of a game that completed a lost weekend.

“There’s nothing we can do about what just happened. We have to go in tomorrow ready to play,” manager Lee Mazzilli said. “I know there are some guys that are a little ticked off in [the clubhouse], and that’s good.”

The Orioles took a 6-1 lead with a five-run fifth. Rookie Jeff Fiorentino hit a leadoff single, and Brian Roberts walked before B.J. Surhoff lined a two-run triple to right-center, chasing Ledezma. Before that hit, Baltimore was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Spurling then retired Melvin Mora on a grounder and issued an intentional walk to Miguel Tejada before Sammy Sosa hit an RBI single to center. Chris Gomez followed with a run-scoring double, Jay Gibbons received an intentional walk, and Geronimo Gil hit a sacrifice fly.

Young hit his second homer in three games in the sixth.

“Dmitri hits the home run, I thought we have a chance,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said.

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