Orioles overwhelm Tigers in finale
Mora, Scott combine to contribute four homers, 10 RBIs
DETROIT -- Dave Trembley thought he was watching "The Natural," and Melvin Mora was Roy Hobbs.
In reality, Trembley saw his Orioles put up 16 runs and 22 hits, both season bests, on Sunday. He saw Mora go 5-for-6 -- the third baseman's second career five-hit game -- with two home runs, two doubles, a career-high six RBIs and four runs. He saw Luke Scott launch his 20th and 21st home runs. He saw every starter reach base at least twice as Baltimore crushed Detroit, 16-8, to take the series.
It was quite a show.
"I can't describe it. I've got to get a tape of this one and take it home this winter," said Trembley, who picked up his 100th win as the O's manager. "When things are not going real well, I can replay this one. This one would lift anybody's spirits."
The Orioles lead the league in team batting average in August; it was .321 before Sunday's barrage. Give some credit to hitting coach Terry Crowley, who was understandably upbeat.
"Everything went our way," Crowley said.
The game lasted three hours, 33 minutes, and it must have felt even longer for both pitching coaches. Neither Tigers starter Zach Miner nor Orioles starter Garrett Olson made it out of the second inning.
Four pitchers combined to throw 138 pitches in the first two frames, which lasted one hour, 14 minutes. Three of the first four Orioles doubled, including Brian Roberts' MLB-best 45th two-bagger. All nine Tigers faced three-ball counts in the second.
The pitching lines were unsightly, as you might have guessed. Miner walked four, which was the same number of outs he notched. He also gave up five runs and six hits. Olson bested Miner by one out, going 1 2/3 innings. Detroit had four hits, five runs and three walks against the lefty. Baltimore reliever Fernando Cabrera (2-1) looked like Cy Young in comparison, throwing three scoreless innings in relief for the victory.
The Orioles batted around and went up, 4-0, in the first. The Tigers tied it, 5-5, after sending nine to the plate in the second. Mora and Scott homered off long reliever Casey Fossum (2-1) to make it 9-5 in the fourth. Aubrey Huff went deep as Baltimore scored four more times in the fifth on Aquilino Lopez, running the lead to 13-5. Scott added his 21st blast in the seventh, and Mora's 20th, a two-run shot, came in the eighth.
For the second time in three days, Mora had an opportunity for his first career cycle. He had a single, a double and a homer through the fifth. Mora, who has the highest batting average in the Majors -- .432 (51-for-118) -- since the All-Star break, smacked one to deep left in the sixth and took a big turn around second, looking for the elusive triple, but he had to retreat because lead runner Alex Cintron stopped at third. His final hit landed in the seats, so he was forced to round third in the eighth.
"I was thinking [cycle] in the last at-bat and also in the at-bat before, running behind Cintron," Mora said. "I was like, 'Keep going, keep going, keep going,' so I could go to third base. Next time."
The offense picked up the slack for Olson, who had the shortest outing of his two-year career and is now in jeopardy of losing his spot in the rotation. Olson said things snowballed in the second, and he got rushed instead of making a quality pitch to get out of the inning.
"It's not easy here," said Olson, 24, whose ERA rose to 6.38. "The trick is finding something every day you're out there that is going to get you in the zone and make you consistent, whether you have your 'A' stuff or your 'B' or 'C' stuff. It's something I have to keep working at and discover.
It took Trembley a few seconds to come up with the words to describe his starter's performance.
"It was disturbing to me to watch," Trembley said, before pausing again. "It wasn't what we expected. ... I'm very patient with young players. We need to do something to get him on track, to help him. I'm sure he's just despondent. There's no one that feels any worse than he does, and that's unfortunate. I'm just glad the team could do what they did to pick him up, because something like this could be difficult to bounce back from. It really, truly got away from him."
As has been the case lately, the pitching didn't have to be superb to get the "W."
"I haven't been a part of or seen a team swinging the bats as well as we are right now," Nick Markakis said. "As the year comes to an end, we're just getting stronger. That's a good sign."
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.