Grand Scott: Orioles slam Tigers
DH hits fifth homer in three games as Wieters debuts
BALTIMORE -- It seemed, at least for a moment, as if all eyes weren't on Matt Wieters.
As the rookie approached the plate in the bottom of the third inning, the cheers and applause echoing throughout the ballpark weren't for the new Baltimore catcher.
Instead, the attention was turned to Luke Scott, another recent addition to the Orioles' lineup. Scott had just blasted a grand slam onto the courtyard, giving the team a five-run cushion. That shot helped the Orioles beat the Tigers, 7-2, for their fifth-straight win, and for Scott, a boost in confidence.
"I feel good," Scott said. "I've been seeing the ball well, too. I was kind of excited to get back up there and start playing. I've been chewing my fingernails off for the last two weeks. But I stayed focus during my days off and played my rehab at-bats through my mind, and so far things have been going very well."
Very well is an understatement. Since his return to the lineup on Wednesday, Scott has been on fire. In the past three games, the lefty has five home runs and 12 RBIs.
Though times when the spotlight was not on Wieters were rare, the same scenario happened just two innings later. As Wieters stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, the crowd was still roaring from a solo shot by Scott, his second of the night, and second consecutive game with multiple home runs. That feat has not been accomplished since Carlos Delgado hit two home runs in consecutive games Sept. 7-9, 2008, for the New York Mets. The last Orioles player to do it was Albert Belle in 2000.
"I've been around Luke from the other side when I was in Bowie and he was in Akron," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "When he's hot and he's in one of his streaks, it doesn't matter who's pitching. You keep running him out there, because he is a threat. The other guys have got to understand that, and when he backs it up by doing what he does, that makes it easier."
Scott's offensive showcase was more than enough support for Orioles starter Brad Bergesen. The right-hander tossed a career-high eight-plus innings, giving up just two earned runs on seven hits. Through the first five innings, Bergesen retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced, including a span of 12 in a row. He tied the longest outing by an Orioles pitcher this season. On May 3, Jeremy Guthrie threw eight innings in a loss to Toronto.
"He showed very good poise on the mound and fielded his position," Trembley said. "He pitched like he's capable of doing. He was a ground-ball pitcher, and he had sink."
Prior to the game, it was seemed the night would belong entirely to Wieters. After word of his arrival was released Wednesday, an extra 15,000 tickets were sold for tonight's game. But as night fell, it was difficult to tell whether the night belonged to Bergesen on the mound or Scott at the plate.
By the time of Scott's fourth at-bat, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the crowd was chanting his name and giving him a standing ovation. Scott, who walked on four straight pitches in his final plate appearance, received another thunderous ovation when he was replaced by Felix Pie.
Scott's triumphant night was complete after the game when teammate Adam Jones hit him with a pie full of shaving cream, a ritual that is fast becoming a trend in the team's dugout.
"It was a really good crowd, a lot of energy," Scott said. "For me, as a player, for all of the guys in the clubhouse it was definitely refreshing and we appreciate it. It made a great atmosphere for us to go out there and play the way we did."
After a five-run third inning, the Orioles tacked on a run in the fourth and fifth innings, giving them a 7-0 lead. The Tigers cut the lead in the top of the seventh, however, after a Curtis Granderson single scored Magglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera scored off of a Brandon Inge grounder.
The Tigers would threaten again in the ninth, but Orioles reliever Jim Johnson extinguished any hopes of a comeback, cementing Bergesen's second win of the season.
"Tonight everything felt good," Bergesen said. "All of the pitches, I felt comfortable throwing them out there. I really just tried to pound the strike zone and let the defense work."
When the more than 42,000 in attendance weren't cheering for Scott, the attention turned to Wieters, the highly anticipated callup who made his Major League debut behind the plate. The catcher went 0-for-4 , including two groundouts and a strikeout.
The Orioles (23-26) have now won five straight, their longest streak since winning six straight games from April 2-8 last year. The Tigers (26-21), meanwhile, have now lost three of their past four games. Starting pitcher Dontrelle Willis lasted just five innings, allowing 10 hits and seven earned runs.
Brian Eller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.