DETROIT (AP) - Alfredo Simon thought he had made a perfect pitch to Miguel Cabrera.
More than 400 feet later, he was starting to wonder.
In the first inning Friday night Simon threw a fastball in on Cabrera's hands and was amazed when it ended up deep in the stands in left field.
``I had just thrown a breaking ball for a strike, so I wanted to come inside with a fastball,' Simon said. ``I put it right where I wanted it, and he still hit it that far. I don't know how he even hit the ball, much less hit it like that. I guess that's why he's the best hitter in baseball.'
The homer was the only major mistake Simon made, but he was done for the night when the Tigers beat the Orioles 4-3 in 11 innings.
Simon pitched eight innings, allowing three runs and six hits.
``This game speaks very well for Alfredo, because he did this against a great lineup,' Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. ``I just need to see him do it on a more consistent basis.'
Baltimore's offense couldn't do enough to win the game. After scoring three runs in the first three innings, the Orioles didn't score again.
``We did some early damage off (Rick) Porcello, but then nothing,' Showalter said. ``He settled down, and that team has a lot of weapons in its bullpen.'
Brandon Inge started the 11th inning with a walk off Willie Eyre (2-2), and Cabrera hit a one-out single. Rookie Zach Phillips came on to face Victor Martinez and gave up a game-ending double on his third pitch.
``That's why they pay Miguel and Victor the big bucks,' Showalter said. ``We had them both 0-2, and couldn't put them away, but they've made a living hitting pitches that weren't in the strike zone.'
Porcello allowed three runs, nine hits and a walk in seven innings. Ryan Perry (1-0) got the win with a scoreless 11th.
Detroit tied the game at 3 in the fifth when Jhonny Peralta led off with a double and scored on Ramon Santiago's second single of the game.
The Tigers threatened in the ninth. Cabrera singled off Jim Johnson with one out. After a groundout moved Cabrera to second, Alex Avila was intentionally walked. Johnson got Peralta on a called third strike to send the game to extra innings.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the first on Vladimir Guerrero's RBI double, but the Tigers came back in the bottom of the inning on Cabrera's 27th long homer.
Cabrera became the first Tiger since 1961 to reach triple figures in runs, RBIs and walks, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland wasn't about to get drawn into the MVP race that includes him and Justin Verlander.
``I don't want a boxing match between him and Verlander in the next couple days,' he said. ``Cabrera's terrific. He's a star. There is absolutely no question about that.'
Baltimore got two runs in the third. Robert Andino and J.J. Hardy led off the inning with infield singles and moved up on a wild pitch. Nick Markakis tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and Matt Wieters put the Orioles ahead with an RBI single.
NOTES: The four-game series continues Saturday night with Verlander (24-5) going for his 13th straight win in his final regular-season start against Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie (9-17). ... Leyland said before the game that, while he will not start Verlander on short rest in a first-round series, he might consider it in the ALCS or World Series. ... Tigers 3B Wilson Betemit (knee) was originally scheduled to start on Friday, but Leyland decided against it because of the cold, damp conditions. ... Detroit's Joaquin Benoit hasn't allowed a run in his last 20 appearances, spanning 20 2-3 innings. ... Cabrera widened his gap over Martinez in their friendly RBI race. His two-run homer gave him 100 on the season, while Martinez's game-winning hit put him at 98.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved