BALTIMORE (AP) - Max Scherzer did his part, limiting the Baltimore Orioles to three hits over eight innings, striking out 10 and retiring the last 16 batters he faced.
All Jose Valverde had to do was to protect a two-run lead for the Tigers to end their three-game skid.
Detroit's closer got only two outs before Chris Dickerson hit a three-run homer to give the Orioles a 7-5 victory Friday night.
``We obviously let one get away,' manager Jim Leyland said.
After yielding a third-inning home run to Adam Jones, Scherzer didn't allow another runner to reach and was poised to become the first Detroit pitcher to start a season 8-0 since Jeremy Bonderman in 2007.
The right-hander threw a season-high 119 pitches. So, after he punctuated his performance by striking out two in the eighth, Scherzer was done for the night.
``Scherzer got us where we wanted to be and then we just didn't close it out,' Leyland said. ``Scherzer was spent and that was going to be his last inning. His pitch count was getting up there pretty good. It was no brainer to bring in Valverde.'
Valverde came to the mound with a 0.75 ERA. He walked off with his first loss and a 3.55 ERA.
Nick Markakis led off with a homer on a 0-2 pitch before Jones singled and took third on a single by Chris Davis. Valverde (0-1) then retired Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy on popups before Dickerson hit a 2-1 pitch into the bleachers in right-center, much to the delight of the sellout crowd of 46,249.
Dickerson was making his first start since May 23 following a bout with a sore wrist. Batting eighth in the lineup, he was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts before connecting.
``It's an amazing feeling, just to contribute in such a big situation,' Dickerson said. ``This team just claws back every single time. I'm just so happy I could cap it off for them.'
Valverde, on the other hand, was crushed.
``I miss a couple of pitches,' he said. ``They have some good hitters. Tomorrow is going to be a new day. I had a tough day. There's nothing I can do. I feel bad for Max because he threw a good game.'
Scherzer was outstanding, but his night ended in disappointment. Although he's still unbeaten, the Tigers are now mired in a four-game losing streak.
``It's always frustrating,' Scherzer said. ``Whenever you have a shot to win in the ninth with two outs and you can see the finish line right in front of you and to lose it like that, it's never fun. At the end of the day, I always think we have one of the better teams around, so hopefully this doesn't happen too often.'
Miguel Cabrera and Avisail Garcia both homered and drove in two runs for the Tigers.
Darren O'Day (3-0) got the final out in the ninth for the Orioles, who have won eight of 11.
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez allowed a season-high five earned runs over six innings and allowed both Detroit homers.
The Tigers went up 2-0 in the first inning when Andy Dirks singled and Cabrera hit his 16th homer of the season. He's the first Detroit player to hit 12 homers in May since Willie Horton in 1968.
Baltimore got a run back in the second, getting singles from Jones and Davis before Wieters delivered a sacrifice fly. In the third, Markakis walked before Jones connected to give the Orioles a brief 3-2 lead.
A two-out RBI single by Garcia tied it in the fourth, and Detroit went up 4-3 in the fifth when Dirks and Cabrera singled ahead of a run-scoring grounder by Victor Martinez.
Garcia hit his second homer of the season for a 5-3 lead in the sixth.
NOTES: Cabrera went 2 for 5 with a walk and took over the AL lead in hits with 81. He began the game tied with Machado, who was held hitless. ... Orioles RHP Pedro Strop, who's been on the DL since May 25 with a lower back strain, is slated to throw a simulated game Saturday. ... Justin Verlander takes the mound for Detroit on Saturday. The Orioles will start Jason Hammel, who's 7-2 overall but 1-2 with a 6.38 ERA at home.
The Associated Press News Service
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