DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Tigers, the American League's best team at home, set themselves up for a division showdown by sweeping baseball's worst team anywhere.
Max Scherzer pitched seven solid innings and Danny Worth hit his first homer, helping Detroit beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 on Wednesday night.
The AL Central-leading Tigers swept the three-game series and they've won five of six at Comerica Park, improving to a league-best 30-12 at home.
``We've got it going,' Scherzer said. ``Here at home, we're pretty comfortable.'
In Baltimore or on the road, the Orioles have simply been bad.
The Orioles have lost six of seven - dropping to a season-worst 34 games under .500 - and are the only team in the majors without at least 10 wins as visitors and with fewer than 30 victories overall.
``We can't worry about our record,' said manager Juan Samuel, who is 10-20 since Dave Trembley was fired. ``We can only worry about the next game.'
After an off day Thursday, Detroit will open a three-game series at home against Minnesota.
Ace Justin Verlander will pitch for the Tigers and Francisco Liriano for the Twins, whose loss at Toronto on Wednesday night gave Detroit a season-high 1 1/2-game lead in the AL Central.
``I'm looking forward to Friday,' said slugger Miguel Cabrera, who extended his hitting season to 16 games in the series finale against Baltimore. ``But I'm not looking at anything beyond that - Saturday, September or October.'
Looking back, it seemed to help Scherzer get sent to the minors in May to work on his mechanics.
Scherzer (6-6) has won a career-high four straight. He gave up one run on six hits and two walks while striking out six.
``His command is good and the ball is coming out of his hand an easy 94, 95,' Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ``He's on a pretty decent roll right now.'
Robbie Weinhardt gave up a run in his major league debut and Phil Coke got the final three outs for his first save with the Tigers.
``With their bullpen, if you let them get a lead late in the game, it is pretty much over,' Samuel said.
Against Baltimore, that's pretty much been the case regardless of its opponent. The Orioles fell to 0-51 this year when trailing after eight innings.
Brad Bergesen (3-6) gave up four runs and 11 hits in six innings. He hasn't won in almost two months.
``I felt like I threw the ball well, but there were a couple bad pitches that just killed me,' Bergesen said. ``They've got a great lineup - the 3-4-5 guys are as tough as it gets in the game - but the guys lower down beat me.'
The Tigers scored one run in the first and third innings and two in the fifth before Baltimore had a run in the seventh.
Rookie Austin Jackson hit a leadoff double - extending his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games - advanced on Johnny Damon's sacrifice bunt and Magglio Ordonez's groundout brought him home for the first run.
Worth, playing in his 25th game, led off the third with a solo homer to make it 2-0.
Nick Markakis had a two-out single in the fourth for the Orioles' first hit after they struck out six times against Scherzer, who fanned 14 in a game earlier this year.
``Our offense has been clicking, but he just shut us down tonight,' Samuel said. ``Our guys were having trouble seeing the ball early in the game, which happens here, but we can't use that as an excuse.'
The Tigers built a four-run cushion they needed in the fifth. Rookie Brennan Boesch hit a two-out double, scored on Carlos Guillen's single, and Brandon Inge's RBI double made it 4-0.
Baltimore finally scored in the seventh on Matt Wieters' RBI single, scoring Adam Jones after he doubled.
Jones led off the ninth with a triple off Weinhardt, ending his night. Wieters hit a sacrifice fly off Coke, who got Felix Pie to pop up and pinch-hitter Jake Fox to strike out.
``Everything is better at home,' Leyland said. ``I think we're very comfortable here - our fans are great - but we have to play better on the road if we're going to contend for anything in the second half.'
NOTES: Cabrera's hitting streak is one short of his career high that he set last July. ... Baltimore, 1-5 on its road trip, will travel to play Texas on Thursday night. ... Jones has hits in 24 of his last 29 games.
The Associated Press News Service
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