Afternoon baseball: O's at Detroit

Game Preview
Orioles (45-62) at Detroit (56-50)

It's beginning to become an all too familiar story. The Orioles will play hard, be in the game to the final out, but in the end, lose a close one.

It happened again Wednesday night, when Detroit beat the Orioles 4-2. The Tigers lead the four-game series, two wins to one.

In the series finale today, at 1:05 p.m. the O's send right-hander David Hernandez (3-3, 3.28) to the mound vs. 20-year-old righty Rick Porcello (9-7, 4.36).

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Edwin Jackson took a two-hit shutout to the 9th last night before Adam Jones' two-run homer knocked him from the game.

Jackson, who is 8-5, 2.62 on the year, improved to 2-0, 1.13 in two starts vs. Baltimore on the year.

Jeremy Guthrie came up with a strong outing as well, but fell to 7-11, 5.27 as he gave up three runs over 7 1/3. It was his 10th quality start of 2009.

Ten of the O's last 13 losses have come by two runs or less. The O's are 5-14 since the All-Star break but have been out-scored by only a 99-89 margin since the break.

Nick Markakis recorded his American League-leading 12th outfield assist in Wednesday's game. The O's lead the AL with 26 outfield assists.

The Birds are just 11-23 in series finale games and are 11-19 in day games this season.

Over his last eight games, Aubrey Huff is batting .344-1-8. Nick Markakis has hit safely in his last eight games and is hitting .394-1-10 in that stretch. Jones has now homered five times in the last ten games and seven times in his last 19 contests.

The Tigers begin play this afternoon leading the AL Central by one game over Chicago and 3 ½ over Minnesota.

The Tigers have won three of five, but since the All-Star break, are 8-11.

Detroit has made just one error in this series, but has recorded 16 over the last ten games.

Detroit is 4-3 this year vs. the O's and is 33-17 at home in 2009.

How O's hitters fared in July:
Andino: .129/0/1 (4-31)
Huff: .189/2/11 (18-95)
Izturis: .255/0/2 (12-47)
Jones: .270/5/15 (27-100)
Markakis: .291/4/20 (30-103)
Mora: .230/1/5 (17-74)
Pie: .263/0/3 (5-19)
Reimold: .269/1/9 (21-78)
Roberts: .287/1/8 (29-101)
Scott: .213/4/14 (16-75)
Wieters: .323/1/6 (20-62)
Wigginton: .228/2/6 (13-57)
Zaun: .280/1/4 (7-25)

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