DETROIT — With two on in the eighth inning, Miguel Cabrera hit a routine grounder for a double play — another frustrating moment for the Detroit Tigers in this crucial series.
Justin Verlander allowed two home runs, and the Tigers lost 3-1 to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. Detroit dropped two of three in the series and now trails the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays by two games for the American League’s wild cards.
Chris Tillman pitched six impressive innings, and Michael Bourn and Jonathan Schoop homered off Verlander. Tillman hadn’t pitched since Aug. 20 because of right shoulder bursitis.
“Offense is cyclical, and we are in a little bit of a funk right now, but you also have to give credit to the Baltimore pitchers,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “They did a great job against us.”
Tillman (16-5) allowed a run and four hits after being activated from the disabled list before the game. He struck out four and walked one.
“It was definitely a little bit of rust there, but I feel like we were able to work through it,” Tillman said. “You get kind of bored and frustrated sitting on the bench that long, and not being able to help the team.”
Three relievers finished for the Orioles, with Zach Britton pitching the ninth for his 41st save in 41 chances. Britton retired pinch-hitter Casey McGehee with two on for the final out, taking sole possession of the AL saves lead.
The Tigers put runners on first and second in the eighth before Cabrera bounced into an inning-ending double play against reliever Mychal Givens. They had runners at first and second in the ninth when James McCann struck out and McGehee grounded out to end it.
Cabrera went 0 for 4 and failed to hit the ball out of the infield.
Verlander (14-8) lasted only five innings, ending his streak of 11 straight quality starts.
The Orioles lead the majors with 226 home runs, but Bourn has only two of them. His two-run shot off Verlander in the third opened the scoring.
Bourn is 14 for 37 (.378) in his career off Verlander, but this was the first time he’d gone deep against the Detroit right-hander.
Schoop’s 23rd homer of the season made it 3-0 in the fourth, and Detroit’s only run came on Ian Kinsler’s RBI single in the fifth.
Verlander allowed three runs and seven hits in his second loss since the All-Star break.
BACK AND FORTH
Mark Trumbo grounded out to the shortstop to lead off the second, and Cabrera had to position himself awkwardly at first to receive a bouncing throw from Jose Iglesias. Trumbo and Cabrera appeared to exchange words after the play.
“Miggy was like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ His job is to catch the ball and be on the base,” Verlander said. “I don’t really know what their issue was on that.”
Trumbo didn’t have much to say about it after the game.
“He had given me a restaurant recommendation,” Trumbo said.
Tigers: Jordan Zimmermann, hit hard Saturday in his return from a neck injury, will not make his next start Thursday against Minnesota. Ausmus said he’ll throw an 80-pitch simulated game Wednesday.
“I definitely understand the reasoning,” Zimmermann said. “We can’t afford to lose games right now.”
Orioles: Baltimore heads to Boston, and LHP Wade Miley (8-12) starts Monday night for the Orioles against David Price (15-8).
Tigers: Detroit hosts a four-game set against Minnesota. LHP Daniel Norris (2-2) takes the mound for the Tigers on Monday night against Ervin Santana (7-10).