Carroll County Times

Orioles: Dickerson hits walk-off bomb for O's win

BALTIMORE - Detroit starter Max Scherzer dominated Baltimore through the middle innings.

The Orioles took care of the ninth.

Chris Dickerson, hitless in his first three at-bats, provided the offense in walk-off fashion.

Dickerson smacked a three-run homer with two outs to push Baltimore past the Tigers 7-5 in front of 46,249 delirious fans Friday night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles (31-24) overcame a 5-3 deficit in the ninth inning and handed Detroit closer Jose Valverde his first loss in dramatic fashion, with Dickerson's fourth home run of the year coming on a 2-1 pitch and landing in the bleacher seats in right-center.

The mob scene at home plate lingered for a few moments before Dickerson escaped, only to be smacked in the face with shaving cream pies from Adam Jones and Alexi Casilla during his on-air postgame chat.

"It's an amazing feeling, just to contribute in such a big situation," said Dickerson, whose homer gave the Orioles their second victory when trailing after eight innings this year. "This team just claws back every single time. I'm just so happy I could cap it off for them. I knew right away. It was awesome.

"That's the type of feeling you just want to bottle up and take home forever. First walk-off at any level. Just an incredible feeling, an incredible moment."

The top two hitting teams in the American League met for the first time this season, and some had the series pegged as a possible playoff preview.

Pitching usually overcomes offense in the postseason, and Scherzer looked the part. The Tigers' hard-throwing right-hander got better as the game went on and left in line for his eighth victory without a loss.

The 28-year-old tossed eight innings for the fifth time this season and struck out 10 batters to reach double digits for the fourth time. Scherzer, who retired the final 16 batters he faced, and was aided by two home runs from a Detroit lineup that came into the final day of May batting .279, tops in the league.

The Orioles were hitting .276, second best in the AL, but Scherzer held them down with his trademark fastball.

Until Valverde (0-1) came in for the save.

Nick Markakis led off the ninth with his ninth homer of the year, and Valverde allowed back-to-back singles from Jones and Chris Davis after that. With runners on first and third and no outs, Valverde induced a pair of pop outs before Dickerson came up. He couldn't solve Scherzer (0 for 3, two strikeouts), but he made up for it with one big swing.

"That says a lot about our ballclub, up and down the lineup," Markakis said. "Anybody can hurt you on any given count. I think that's a positive thing we've got going for us right now."

Baltimore's bullpen combined for three innings of scoreless relief and saved starter Miguel Gonzalez from his third loss. Darren O'Day (3-0) retired one batter in the ninth and earned the win.

Gonzalez allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings and struck out six.

Avisail Garcia's solo shot in the sixth put the Tigers (29-24) ahead 5-3, and it was Garcia's RBI single with two outs in the fourth that tied the score 3-3 after Baltimore erased an early deficit and took the lead in the third.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera started things with a two-run homer to left field in the first inning, his 16th home run of the season. The Orioles got a run back in the second on Matt Wieters' sac fly to left, and took the lead 3-2 when Jones blasted a two-run homer 444 feet to dead center.

Scherzer was on point from there, but Baltimore won for the eighth time in 11 games with Dickerson's blast capping the night.

"I have a lot of things going through my head," manager Buck Showalter said. "Do I pinch-run for Chris [Davis], or bunt here. But you know, sometimes you just step back and let the guys play the game. It seems like every time I've gone that direction, I've gotten that confidence repaid."