Robertson outduels Benson; Tigers clip Orioles

DETROIT (AP) -- Nate Robertson has not gotten a whole lot of run
support this season from his Detroit Tigers teammates. Luckily for
him, he ran into someone Saturday with the exact same problem.

Robertson pitched eight strong innings, outdueling Kris Benson
and giving the Tigers a 2-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

"Tonight was just going to be a pitcher's duel," Robertson
said. "Benson threw a good ball game, but we scratched out a couple
runs and held on. To go out there in a game like this and perform
like that is huge for our confidence."

The Tigers maintained their two-game lead over Minnesota in the
AL Central, and now lead third-place Chicago by five games.

The Twins and White Sox would probably both have to pass the
Tigers for Detroit to fall short of its first playoff berth in 19

"I think we are paying attention to both of those teams,"
first baseman Sean Casey said. "Every game matters at this point --
every win and every loss."

The Tigers start a three-game series Monday night at Chicago.

"We've got five on them, but that's no big deal," Robertson
said. "We still have them coming up, and there's still two weeks
left. We have to focus."

Baltimore has lost 14 of 18.

Robertson (13-12) had his fourth impressive start in a row,
allowing six hits and walking one. He has a 1.29 ERA since giving
up 10 runs to the White Sox on Aug. 24, but has only gotten nine
runs of support in his last six outings.

"He was tremendous again tonight," said Tigers manager Jim
Leyland. "Benson was real good, too. We knew it was going to be a
real good matchup and we were fortunate to win it."

Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 40 tries.

Benson (10-11) lost despite pitching his third complete game of
the year. He gave up seven hits and three walks, striking out six.

"Give that other guy credit -- he pitched well too," Benson
said. "There have been plenty of games where they haven't scored
for me, but there have been plenty where they have. That just

In Benson's last three starts, he is 0-1 despite a 2.35 ERA.

"He pitched a great game again, and we didn't score again,"
Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He could easily have 16 wins
this year -- he's had six games where he's pitched at least seven
innings, given up no more than two runs and not gotten a win.

"That's a lot of hard luck."

Baltimore had a great scoring chance in the third after Corey
Patterson's leadoff triple down the right-field line. But Robertson
got Chris Gomez to pop out and retired David Newhan and Brian
Roberts on routine grounders.

"We really needed to get something out of that inning,"
Perlozzo said. "When that happens, you just hope it doesn't come
back to haunt you."

It did -- the Tigers took the lead in the bottom half. Casey and
Brandon Inge led off with singles and with two outs, Ivan Rodriguez
lined an RBI double.

The Orioles got a two-out double from Miguel Tejada in the
fourth, but Robertson struck out Ramon Hernandez, and Baltimore
left two runners on in the fifth.

The Tigers extended their lead in the seventh when Carlos
Guillen led off with a walk and took third on a double by Matt
Stairs, claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday. Benson
intentionally walked Casey to load the bases and after Inge popped
out, Infante hit a sacrifice fly.

Game notes
Casey was thrown out stealing in the fifth inning, the
first time that had happened to him in over four years. The
slow-footed Casey had been successful in eight straight attempts
since being caught by St. Louis' Mike Matheny on June 29, 2002,
while playing for the Reds. ... Baltimore needs to win Sunday and
Thursday to avoid losing their second straight season series to the
Tigers. The Tigers only won a single season series from the Orioles
between 1995 and 2004. ... Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya (wrist) said
before the game that he was available after missing a week, but was
not needed.