DETROIT -- The Baltimore Orioles know that, at 32 games under .500, they are miles away from any kind of pennant race as the regular season enters its final weeks.
Still, for once, they feel like they have a reason to finish the season with more than a token effort.Saturday, Adam Jones had four hits and Jeremy Guthrie pitched seven shutout innings to help the Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3. Baltimore is now 23-14 since Buck Showalter took over as manager on Aug. 2."We finally feel like we're getting better and taking some momentum into September," Guthrie said. "We're actually racing to the finish line instead of limping toward it like we've done in the past couple years."Brian Roberts and Felix Pie each added three hits for Baltimore, which clinched a win of the three-game series that concludes Sunday. Before this week, Baltimore had lost five straight at Comerica Park and 12 of its last 16."What this team is learning is that, if you play good baseball, you can win anywhere," Showalter said. "That's what I've told them -- the teams that play deep into October are the teams that can win on the road. That's what we will have to do in the years to come."Guthrie (10-13) gave up five hits -- all in the first three innings -- and one walk, striking out four. Guthrie has won his last three starts with an ERA of 0.81."He's been a very solid pitcher, and that's a big understatement," Showalter said. "He's the kind of starting pitcher you need if you want to compete in our division."Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his ninth save and second in as many days.Max Scherzer (10-10) allowed four runs on a career-high 12 hits in six innings, snapping a five-start unbeaten streak. Scherzer has allowed four runs in each of his last two starts after not allowing more than two in the previous seven."He was up in the zone a bit, and I don't think his secondary stuff was as good as it has been," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He gave up some hits, but he still did a good job of keeping us in the game."The teams combined for eight hits in the first three innings, but Scherzer and Guthrie were able to pitch out of the jams."I didn't have my best stuff tonight, but I battled with the bullets I had," Guthrie said. "I gave up too many baserunners in the first few innings, but I was able to make some pitches when I needed them."The Orioles got three more hits in the fourth, loading the bases with one out, but Scherzer struck out Josh Bell and Cesar Izturis to end the inning.Baltimore finally broke the tie with four runs in the sixth. Jones led off with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Pie's two-base hit.Bell followed with an infield single and Izturis made it 3-0 with a triple. Scherzer retired Roberts, but Ty Wigginton drove in Izturis with a long sacrifice fly."You look at the way Scherzer has been pitching -- he's one of the hottest guys in the American League right now," Showalter said. "We were getting good at-bats against him, but he kept making enough pitches to get out of things. That's why it was such a good sign that we took our time and found a way to put a bunch of hits together in the sixth."With Guthrie out of the game, though, Detroit rallied for three runs off Matt Albers in the eighth. Don Kelly started the rally with an RBI single and Jhonny Peralta followed with a two-run double before Albers retired Brandon Inge with the tying run on second.Pie finished the scoring with an RBI single off Brad Thomas in the ninth."We just didn't do enough offensively," Leyland said. "We had the one spurt in the eighth, but we couldn't get enough, and that add-on run in the ninth just killed us."
The start of the game was delayed 27 minutes by rain. ... There was an odd moment during Baltimore's big sixth inning when fans in the top row of the upper deck behind third base started tossing beach balls to nearby fans. About 20 balls were distributed, many getting as far as the lower deck, before security guards were able to confiscate all of them. ... Miguel Cabrera hit a sixth-inning grounder so hard that it deflected off Bell's glove at third to Izturis 10 yards away quickly enough for an easy 5-6-3 putout. ... Baltimore's starters are 3-0 with five quality starts as Baltimore has gone 4-1 on its current roadtrip.