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Tigers fall to Orioles, maintain slim division lead

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers probably wouldn't have
minded traveling to Kansas City from Chicago by way of Baltimore --
if they got a win for their trouble.

The Tigers were on their way to doing just that, building a
three-run lead in a makeup game against the Orioles. Then Baltimore
rallied, further ruining what was supposed to be a day off for
road-weary Detroit.

Melvin Mora doubled in two runs in the eighth inning, capping a
comeback that carried the Orioles to a 4-3 victory Thursday.

Detroit retained its half-game lead in the the AL Central when
the second-place Minnesota Twins lost 6-0 at Boston.

"We let it slip away. We had the right people in there in the
end," Detroit catcher Vance Wilson said. "We had a chance to win
-- and didn't."

Magglio Ordonez and Curtis Granderson homered for the Tigers,
who were forced into a stopover in Baltimore to make up the May 11
rainout. Detroit played in Chicago on Wednesday night, then hurried
to the East Coast before opening a three-game series against Kansas
City on Friday.

"No excuses here," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Kris Benson (11-11) allowed three runs and eight hits in eight
innings for the Orioles. He walked off the mound with Baltimore
trailing by a run, but ended up earning his first win since Aug.
18.

Five days earlier, Benson went the distance in a 2-0 loss to
Detroit.

"He finally caught a break that he deserved and got himself
another win," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said.

Brian Roberts led off the eighth with a pinch-hit single off
Fernando Rodney (7-4). David Newhan was hit by a pitch and replaced
by Jeff Fiorentino. Chris Gomez fouled out after attempting to
sacrifice, but the runners advanced on a double steal.

"At that point, in that situation, I wanted to go for the
win," Perlozzo said.

Mora followed with a sharp grounder inside the third-base line,
giving the Orioles their first lead of the game.

Chris Ray pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.

Nearly a thousand disgruntled Orioles fans walked out of the
game in the fourth inning, culminating a demonstration aimed at
team owner Peter Angelos, who has been in charge of the team during
its club-record run of nine straight losing seasons.

Miguel Tejada had three hits for the Orioles and Gomez had two,
extending his hitting streak to a career-best tying 14 games.
Tejada moved within two hits of matching his career high of 204,
set in 2002 with Oakland during a season in which he was voted AL
MVP.

Detroit went up 2-0 in the first inning when Granderson led off
with a double and Ordonez hit his 24th homer with two outs. That
gave Ordonez 100 RBI, the first Tiger to reach that number since
Bobby Higginson and Dean Palmer had 102 in 2000.

Granderson made it 3-0 in the third with his 16th home run, but
the lead didn't hold up.

"You'd like to win your division, but making the playoffs is
what the key is," Wilson said. "What we want to do is play good
baseball this last week."

Baltimore closed to 3-2 against Nate Robertson in the fourth.
Tejada led off with his 200th hit, a single, and Ramon Hernandez
walked before Kevin Millar hit an RBI double. After Robertson hit
Corey Patterson with a pitch, Fernando Tatis delivered a sacrifice
fly.

Detroit loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but failed
to score.

"We had one big shot there and we didn't get anything out of
it. That cost us," Leyland said. "That about sums it up."

In the bottom half, the Orioles filled the bases with two outs
before Patterson hit a routine fly to center. Baltimore again
loaded the bases in the seventh before Jamie Walker struck out
Patterson for the third out.

Game notes
Gomez has had seven multihit games during his 14-game run.
The only other time he hit as many as 14 games in a row was in
1998. ... The season series ended 3-3.