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08/06/09 12:20 AM ET

Orioles hand ball to Hernandez for finale

Baltimore (45-62) at Detroit (56-50), 1:05 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- The Orioles head into their series finale against the Tigers needing a strong start from rookie David Hernandez, who has been up to the task in recent weeks. Hernandez had a run of four straight quality starts snapped in his last outing, but he also had an excuse: He was facing the Red Sox for the second straight time.

Hernandez has faced the Tigers before, but that came all the way back at the end of May. Hernandez went into the sixth inning and held Detroit to one run, becoming the fourth Orioles pitcher to win his Major League debut this season. Baltimore has since seen a fifth win his debut and is the only team in modern baseball history to do that.

The Orioles will be facing a talented rookie on the other side in Detroit's Rick Porcello, who began the season as the youngest pitcher in the American League. And they'll do so on a tough offensive streak. Baltimore had just four hits on Wednesday night and was shut out for the first eight innings by Edwin Jackson.

The O's are just 5-14 since the All-Star break and have been outscored by just 10 runs over that span. Ten of the Orioles' past 14 losses have been by two runs or fewer, and they're 11-14 in one-run games this season. Hernandez has made five road starts this season, and Baltimore is 3-2 in them.

The Orioles have played 12 road games since the All-Star break, and they still hold the fewest road wins (17) of any American League team this season. And it doesn't get any easier: The Orioles will head to Toronto for a three-game series after they leave Detroit, and they'll have a nine-game road trip later in the month.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP David Hernandez (3-3, 3.28 ERA)
Facing the Red Sox lineup for the second time in one week, Hernandez struggled with command in his previous start on Saturday. The rookie lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, but he issued four walks and gave up two home runs over the 23 batters he faced.

DET: RHP Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.36 ERA)
Porcello didn't get a win from his eight innings of four-hit, one-run ball Saturday at Cleveland, but he got an infusion of confidence. So did the Tigers, who had watched him go six straight outings without a quality start. He induced just six swings and misses out of 91 pitches but got 16 ground balls.

Bird bites
Adam Jones hit his team-leading 19th home run on Wednesday night, a two-run shot in the ninth inning that broke up Detroit's shutout. ... Nick Markakis has an eight-game hitting streak and has hit .394 (13-for-33) over that stretch. ... Luke Scott went hitless Wednesday for just the second time in 13 career games against Detroit. Baltimore's designated hitter still holds a .455 (20-for-44) career average against the Tigers. ... The Orioles are 6-46 when their opponents outhit them and 13-38 when the opposing team scores first. ... Baltimore is 36-34 when it hits at least one home run. ... The O's are 40-26 when they score four runs or more and 5-36 when they don't.

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On the Internet
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On radio
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Up next
• Friday: Orioles (Jason Berken, 1-9, 6.93) at Blue Jays (Brett Cecil, 5-1, 4.36), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (Chris Tillman, 0-0, 6.75) at Blue Jays (Ricky Romero, 10-4, 3.53), 1:07 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Orioles (Brian Matusz, 1-0, 1.80) at Blue Jays (Roy Halladay, 11-5, 2.75), 1:07 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.