BALTIMORE (AP) - Even after managing 3,392 games, Jim Leyland doesn't always make the right decision. At least not in his mind.
If he could do it over again, Leyland would have handled his pitching staff differently in Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Rick Porcello was cruising along with a three-hitter and took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning. Then it all came apart.
After Chris Davis hit his major-league leading 20th home run, Chris Dickerson singled and took third on a single by J.J. Hardy. Phil Coke entered and gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Danny Valencia. Two batters later, Nate McLouth grounded a broken-bat single up the middle to bring home pinch-runner Alexi Casilla for a 3-2 lead.
As Detroit packed up following a 1-5 road trip, Leyland lamented his choice to stick with Porcello to begin the seventh.
``I botched it, it was my fault,' the veteran manager said. ``(Porcello) was pitching terrific, but the way the lineup set up, I should have made the move in the seventh. I didn't make it and it cost us.'
Porcello (2-3) lost for the first time in seven starts since April 20. Through six innings, though, he was in charge.
``He was terrific,' Leyland said. ``He kept the ball on the ground, he mixed his pitches, he had some strikeouts, he did a great job against Adam Jones (who finished with four strikeouts). It just fell apart a little bit for him in the seventh.'
Davis said: ``He (Porcello) was kind of running out of gas and that was obviously a good chance for us to get into the bullpen. He had pretty much been dominating us the whole game. ... He threw me a hanging changeup and I hit it out and we started rolling after that.'
Doubles by Davis and Casilla against Darren Downs in the eighth made it 4-2.
Prince Fielder homered and scored both runs for the Tigers, who dropped two of three to the Orioles.
``All you can do is battle,' outfielder Torii Hunter said. ``We're doing what we have to do and sometimes it just doesn't work out.'
Orioles rookie Kevin Gausman pitched six impressive innings. He struck out Miguel Cabrera and got the Tigers star to hit into a pair of double plays.
``He's the best hitter in the game. I just tried to make my pitches and keep everything down,' Gausman said. ``If you don't have a good inning against him, he can make you pay for it. It was a good battle. It was fun.'
Brian Matusz (2-0) got the win despite giving up a run in the seventh, Darren O'Day worked the eighth and Jim Johnson got three outs for his 18th save.
Making his third major league start, Gausman displayed the form that made him the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft. The right-hander went six innings, allowing one run and five hits, striking out four and walking none over six innings.
Gausman came in with an 11.00 ERA after yielding seven runs in four innings at Washington on Tuesday.
In his home debut, the 22-year-old retired the last six batters he faced, ending the outing by slipping a third strike past Cabrera.
``He's a good-looking young pitcher,' Leyland said of Gausman. ``Big-time arm. Good stuff.'
Matusz came in to start the seventh and promptly gave up a double to Fielder, who came around to score on singles by Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta.
Early on, Porcello and Gausman locked in an engaging pitcher's duel. Gausman had just gotten Cabrera to hit into a second double play in the fourth inning when Fielder drove a 3-0 pitch into the right-field seats.
Peralta led off the Detroit fifth with a single, took second on a wild pitch and reached third on a groundout. With the infield in, Gausman retired Ramon Santiago on a bouncer to first base before Avisail Garcia grounded out.
NOTES: Baltimore turned a season-high four double plays. ... The Tigers acquired 3B Francisco Martinez from Seattle for player to be named or cash. The Tigers then optioned Martinez to Class A Lakeland. To make room on the 40-man roster, OF Quintin Berry was designated for assignment. ... McLouth stole second base in the third inning, his 19th steal in 20 attempts this year. He's 31 for 33 since the start of the 2012 season. ... Baltimore and Detroit both have Monday off. The Orioles resume play in Houston on Tuesday, and the Tigers host Tampa Bay. ... Baltimore pinch-hitters were 1 for 18 before Valencia delivered in the seventh. Valencia's only other hit as a pinch-hitter came in 2010. ... It was the eighth time Detroit has lost when leading after six innings.
The Associated Press News Service
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