By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Detroit Tigers appear to be saving their best baseball for rainy days.
Justin Upton homered and drove in two runs, and Detroit shook off two rain delays and a triple play in a 7-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night.
Ian Kinsler hit his 45th career leadoff home run for the Tigers, who built a 7-0 lead in the third inning and ended Baltimore’s five-game winning streak.
After enduring nearly five hours of rain delays Wednesday in a 2-0 win at Yankee Stadium, Detroit ran into more troublesome weather at Camden Yards. The game began 43 minutes late, and only four batters went to the plate before another shower produced a stoppage of 59 minutes.
The final pitch came after midnight, just about five hours beyond the scheduled starting time.
But the final result made it all worth it for the Tigers.
“We’ve had some pretty long days at the ballpark last couple days, but we’ve been playing pretty good baseball,” Kinsler said.
Baltimore’s second triple play of the season occurred in the second inning. With runners on first and second, Tigers catcher James McCann hit a grounder to third baseman Manny Machado, who stepped on third and whipped a throw to second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The relay to Chris Davis beat McCann to complete the around-the-horn triple play.
That proved to be one of the few highlights for the Orioles, who were trying to reach .500 for the first time since June 29.
Tim Beckham had three hits, including his first homer with Baltimore to make it 7-5 in the eighth, but the Orioles could not complete the comeback.
Kinsler got Detroit started with a drive to left field off Chris Tillman (1-7), moving past Brady Anderson into sole possession of sixth place for career leadoff homers.
Upton connected one out later, and Miguel Cabrera struck out before the rain came.
“The rain helped us at the beginning of the game,” Kinsler said. “We had scored two runs going into the rain delay.”
Cabrera doubled in two runs in a five-run third that ended Tillman’s ineffective outing. He allowed seven runs, five earned, in two-plus innings and has gone 14 straight starts without a win.
“You keep waiting for him,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s tough because you’ve got a guy who’s really got a track record of pitching well for us over an extended period of time and he’s just not doing it right now.”
Tillman knows it.
“It’s killing me right now. It really is,” he said.
Despite being spotted a big lead, Detroit starter Matthew Boyd couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning. He was lifted after his fourth walk and replaced by Warwick Saupold (3-1), who pitched 1 2/3 innings.
“You can’t be walking guys,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said about Boyd. “Early on, I thought he was going to be fine. The first inning, he looked real good. But he just lost command of the ball.”
Shane Greene worked a perfect ninth for his third save.
SWING AND FALL
Machado took a big cut at an off-speed, 3-2 pitch in the first inning and fell on his back at the plate after failing to make contact. He wore a sheepish smile as he headed to the dugout.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer (elbow) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. An MRI revealed no ligament damage, and he anticipates a quick return.
Orioles: DH Mark Trumbo (rib cage strain) is “pretty much pain free,” according to Showalter, who would like to see the slugger play a couple of rehab games before coming off the DL.
Tigers: Justin Verlander (6-7, 4.29 ERA) pitches Friday night in Baltimore looking to build on his last outing, when the six-time All-Star blanked Houston over six innings to end a five-start winless streak.
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (8-7, 5.37 ERA) tries to win his fourth straight start. He has allowed one run over the last 20 2/3 innings.
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