BALTIMORE (AP) - It might be a while before Tigers manager Jim Leyland stops lamenting his kind-hearted decision to remove Victor Martinez in the ninth inning of a lopsided game.
Down by seven runs in the ninth, Detroit eventually got the potential tying run to first base before succumbing to the Baltimore Orioles 8-5 on Sunday.
The score was 8-1 when Orioles manager Buck Showalter sent closer Kevin Gregg to the mound in the ninth to get some work. Martinez led off with an innocent single, and Leyland sent in Will Rhymes to run for the sore-legged slugger.
``With Victor's knee, I just wanted to get him out of there,' Leyland said.
Two more singles loaded the bases, and Gregg walked Alex Avila and Ramon Santiago to force in two runs. Austin Jackson followed with an RBI single to make it 8-4 and chase Gregg. Jim Johnson struck out Andy Dirks and gave up a run-scoring groundout to Magglio Ordonez before issuing an intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera to load the bases.
Had Martinez been in the game, he would have been the one to step to the plate. Instead, pinch-hitter Brennan Boesch hit a slicing liner to left that Nolan Reimold snagged on the run to end the game.
``Boeschy did a good job, but that was strictly my fault. Not my fault, but that was strictly on me,' Leyland said. ``Trying to save Victor some, he's been in some pain. Just tried to save him a little bit, but it backfired. It was my fault, totally my fault.'
Boesch, who missed the previous four games with a sore thumb, almost came through, anyway.
``Reimold's a fast outfielder. I thought it was going to be down the line, rattle around, and he made a good play,' Boesch said. ``Off the bat, I definitely thought it had a good chance to be a double.'
The loss ruined Detroit's bid for a three-game sweep and put a disappointing finish to a 5-4 road trip that began in Kansas City and included a stopover in Cleveland.
Santiago, who hit his second homer in 150 at_bats this season, said, ``It's good to make a rally against Kevin Gregg. But Jim Johnson got good stuff, he shut it down.'
Doug Fister (4-13) yielded eight runs, six earned, on 12 hits over 5 2-3 innings. It was his third start with Detroit since coming over in a six-player deal with Seattle on July 30. He's 1-1 with the Tigers but 10-27 overall since the start of the 2010 season.
``I struggled with a little bit of location today and they capitalized on it,' the right-hander said.
Nick Markakis homered and drove in four runs, and Jo-Jo Reyes allowed four hits over six innings to earn his first win with Baltimore. Markakis, Reimold and Adam Jones had three hits apiece for the Orioles, who got off to a quick start in their second win in eight games. Baltimore led 3-0 after two innings, 6-1 in the fifth and tacked on two more runs in the sixth.
Reyes (6-9) gave up one run, struck out four and walked two. Obtained off waivers from Toronto on Aug. 2, the left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in three appearances with the Orioles, including two starts.
Johnson earned his second save, an unlikely occurrence after Baltimore took such a huge lead into the ninth.
``Fortunately for us, Victor has a bad knee and had to come out of the game,' Showalter said. ``We're also fortunate to have J.J. there.'
Fister kept Detroit within striking range until the fifth, when the Orioles used four hits to take a 6-1 lead. Reimold led off with a double and scored a single by Markakis. Jones followed with a single, and Markakis drew a throw on his sprint to third base, enabling Jones to take second. Vladimir Guerrero followed with a two-run single.
Baltimore chased Fister in the sixth. After Craig Tatum reached on an error, Reimold walked and Markikis hit an RBI single. Jones greeted reliever David Pauley with a run-scoring single to put the Orioles up by seven runs, their biggest lead since July 26, in a 12-4 win at Toronto.
NOTES: Baltimore's Mark Reynolds went 0 for 4 and is 1 for 26 with 12 strikeouts since hitting a 450-foot homer on Aug. 7. He also made two errors at third base. ... Avila's career-high 10-game hitting streak ended. ... The Tigers send Rick Porcello to the mound Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at home against the Minnesota Twins. The right-hander is 5-1 in his last seven starts, a streak that includes a win over the Twins. ... Baltimore heads to Oakland for the start of a 10-game road trip. Tommy Hunter is slated to start Monday night, and Brian Matusz is expected to be called up from the minors to start Tuesday. Manager Buck Showalter said Sunday that Matusz would travel with the team.
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