Detroit stayed a half-game up on the Minnesota Twins with a thrilling win over the Orioles on Tuesday, as Johnny Damon capped off a historic night with a two-run home run in the 11th inning to give the Tigers a 7-5 win.
Damon hit a single under the glove of Julio Lugo in the third for the 2,500th hit of his career. He became the 92nd player in MLB-history to reach that mark and he finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs scored in addition to the winning shot.
In the 11th with David Hernandez (3-7) on the mound, Austin Jackson singled to start the frame and Damon followed by blasting an 0-2 pitch into the stands in right field for the win as the fans celebrated.
"If I keep hitting walk-off home runs like that they're going to keep loving me," Damon said. "I gave them a taste earlier this season. It's been up and down for me at the plate, but they respect the way I go out and play the game."
After the game, the Tigers optioned Galarraga to Triple-A Toledo. The team also announced it will purchase the contract of right-handed pitcher Robbie Weinhardt from Toledo on Wednesday.
Nick Markakis went 3-for-6 with a three-run home run and three RBI while Lugo added three hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who have lost five of their last six contests. Jake Arrieta went 6 1/3 innings in the start and was charged with just one run on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
"It's a tough loss for us," Arrieta said. "I thought the team fought really well. It just one of those games that was real close that didn't end up going our way."
Tonight the Tigers turn to righty Max Scherzer, who has won his last three decisions. Scherzer picked up the win an impressive effort on Friday against Seattle, as he held the Mariners to a run and three hits in eight innings to run his record to 5-6, while lowering his earned run average to 4.88.
This will be his first-ever start against the Orioles.
Baltimore will counter with righty Brad Bergesen, who is winless since beating Seattle back on May 12. Bergesen was tagged with the loss on Friday in Boston, as the Red Sox reached him for three runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings. He also struck out seven without walking a batter, but fell to 3-5 to go along with a 6.44 ERA.
Bergesen beat the Tigers the only other time he faced them, holding them to a pair of runs in eight innings last May.
Detroit took five of its eight meetings with the Orioles last season.