BALTIMORE (AP) - Orioles manager Buck Showalter can only hope the impressive starting pitching he's seen recently will continue next April.
Jeremy Guthrie allowed two hits over eight shutout innings, Nick Markakis homered and Baltimore beat the Detroit Tigers 2-1 on Friday night for a doubleheader sweep.
In the opener, Chris Tillman pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and Adam Jones drove in four runs to lead the Orioles to a 10-6 victory.
It was the second time in three days that Detroit was swept in a doubleheader; Cleveland did it Wednesday. The Tigers (80-80) have lost five straight and must win at least once this weekend to avoid a losing season.
Between Guthrie, Tillman and Kevin Millwood on Wednesday against Tampa Bay, Orioles starters have allowed one run in their last 22 innings.
``That's what's going to have to happen for us to get where we want to go,' Showalter said. ``It (revolves) around pitching ... and making leads matter late in games. It's been impressive and we hope it carries over.'
Robert Andino had four hits in the nightcap for the Orioles, who improved to 33-22 since Showalter made his debut on Aug. 3. With its first doubleheader sweep since June 2006, Baltimore reached the 65-win mark - one more than it had last year.
``You're always looking for improvement,' Showalter said. ``When you step back at the end of the year, you want to feel like you're in a little better shape than you were last year at the end of the season.'
Guthrie (11-14) struck out five, walked one and permitted only one runner past first base. The right-hander went 8-4 with a 2.75 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.
Koji Uehara yielded a two-out solo homer by Don Kelly in the ninth but earned his 12th save.
Rick Porcello (10-12) gave up two runs and 12 hits in 6 1-3 innings. Bidding to win his sixth straight decision, Porcello fell behind when Markakis opened the third by driving an 0-2 pitch into the right-field seats.
Baltimore made it 2-0 in the seventh, chasing Porcello on singles by Andino, Brandon Snyder and Julio Lugo.
While the Orioles are sprinting to the finish, the Tigers are limping toward the end of a disappointing season.
``It's not good when you lose them two at a time, like we did in Cleveland and here,' manager Jim Leyland said. ``But you got to keep battling, keep scratching and clawing.'
Kelly, who also homered in the opener, said, ``It's tough. You never want to lose a bunch in a row. We've got to find a way to battle back these last two games.'
In the opener, Tillman (2-5) gave up one run, had a season-high seven strikeouts and walked two to earn his first win in six starts since July 10. After allowing a second-inning homer to Kelly, the right-hander did not permit a runner past first base.
Tillman couldn't have asked for a better conclusion to a season in which he failed to make the team out of spring training and then bounced back and forth from the minors and majors. His third recall to Baltimore came on Sept. 5.
``That last start of the year is always a big boost for the offseason,' Tillman said. ``Last year I had that tough one going into the offseason (six runs in two innings against Cleveland), and it kind of sat with me the whole offseason. It's a lot better to end the season on a good note.'
Felix Pie and Craig Tatum each had three RBIs for the Orioles, who took control with a six-run fourth inning against Jeremy Bonderman (8-10).
Will Rhymes had three hits for the Tigers.
Down 1-0 after being held hitless through three innings, the Orioles sent 10 batters to the plate in the fourth against Bonderman, who fueled the uprising by hitting two batters and walking one.
The key hits in the inning were a three-run double by Jones and a two-run double by Tatum.
Pie chased Bonderman with a two-run triple in the fifth, and Jones greeted Eddie Bonine with an RBI single to make it 9-1.
Bonderman gave up a season-high nine earned runs.
``Just walking guys. Bad pitches, fall behind in counts. ... I just got beat pretty bad,' he said. ``Embarrassing.'
NOTES: The first game was a makeup of Thursday night's rainout. ... Orioles 2B Brian Roberts missed both games with headaches. ... Detroit C Gerald Laird left the nightcap with a bruised left shoulder. Leyland does not expect Laird to play again this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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