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Orioles can't come back this time, lose 6-1 to Detroit Tigers

After a strong first half of the season, Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez returned from the All-Star Break with his confidence riding high, but following his team's 6-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards, Jimenez was searching for answers.

For the third time in the past four games, an Orioles starting pitcher failed to get out of the fifth inning as Jimenez left with two outs in the fifth having allowed six runs on six hits. He's allowed six or more runs in three of his four starts since the break.

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"I know the first half was really good, but this is a part of the game," Jimenez said. "I have to find a way to get back to that. We still have a lot of games left so I have to find a way to do what I was doing before."

Meanwhile, left-hander Daniel Norris – the centerpiece acquisition of the Tigers' trade with the Blue Jays last week that sent former Cy Young Award winner David Price to Toronto — held the Orioles to four hits over 71/3 innings, his only blemish being Chris Davis' solo homer in the fourth.

"These are the type of guys you get back for David Price, OK?," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "A lot of late life. You see hitters in hitter's counts who didn't center up, which tells you there's some late movement on the ball. Balls that appear strikes in the middle of the plate that end up somewhere else. … He's good. He's got a chance to be a good pitcher for them. The guy they gave up is right now. That's the way it works."

The Orioles (53-51) loss — combined with the Yankees' 12-3 win over the White Sox — caused the club to fall six games back of division-leading New York, but the Orioles didn't lose ground in the wild-card standings. They are still one game back of the Minnesota Twins, who lost to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

In Detroit's first trip to Camden Yards since the teams met in last year's American League Division Series, the Orioles had to settle for a split of their four-game series, but still won five of seven on their homestand.

The next challenge is a nine-game West Coast road trip, where they will play the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners. The Orioles haven't played well on the road, going 21-31 away from Camden Yards.

"We've got to continue to play good baseball," Davis said. "These one-run and two-run wins and losses. We needed to execute everything we've been doing that's made us successful to continue to grind out wins. Every win's big."

In his four starts since the All-Star Break, Jimenez's season ERA has ballooned from 2.81 to 4.04. He is pitching to a 10.61 ERA over that span.

"He was wild in the strike zone again," Showalter said. "It didn't really show up a lot in the walk total. But he had trouble getting the ball where he wanted to get it, especially with some counts in his favor. But it was a big challenge for him in the first inning. … Three of the four days, we've been down pretty big early. It was a challenge for the guys."

Jimenez was one strike away from stranding two runners in scoring position in the first inning, but J.D. Martinez hit a 1-2 pitch over the centerfield fence for a three-run homer.

"In the first inning, I just left a split-finger hanging," Jimenez said. "That was a really bad pitch and he made me pay for it. … It's always bad every time you give up runs in the first inning, because you're putting the team in a bad spot," Jimenez said. "You're putting the other pitcher [in a situation where] he's comfortable on the mound because he has a lead. It's part of the game. I have to find out a way to get rid of those innings because I've been struggling with that in my last three or four games."

Davis hit his 26th home run of the season, taking 2-1 pitch deep into the right-centerfield seats, matching last year's home run and RBI total (72). Norris would allow just one hit after Davis' homer — he retired 12 straight before yielding a one-out single in the eighth inning to Jonathan Schoop, his final batter of the game.

Jimenez recovered from Martinez's homer, retiring 12 straight after the blast. But he ran into trouble in the fifth. He retired the first two runners he faced in the inning before No. 9 hitter Rajai Davis raced around first on a bloop hit to shallow right field. Nolan Reimold's throw to second hit Schoop, the cutoff man, in the hip and bounced into shallow centerfield, allowing Davis to reach third.

Anthony Gose plated Davis on a single to right past a diving Schoop, then stole second on a pitchout and swiped third without a throw. Jose Iglesias then tripled on a line drive to center that Adam Jones misjudged; he initially broke forward on the ball before it sailed over his head, rolling to the centerfield fence. Gose easily scored.

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Ian Kinsler followed with a single into right through a shift to score Iglesias, giving the Tigers a 6-1 lead and chasing Jimenez from the game.

"It was kind of a crazy inning for him," Chris Davis said of the fifth. "I was glad to see him get back in there and throw the ball well and give himself a chance. There were a few miscues on defense that kind of stacked the odds on us, but we continued to battle, put up good at-bats, but just kind of came up short."

Orioles right-hander Jorge Rondon tossed 31/3 scoreless innings in his Orioles debut, allowing three hits while striking out one and walking none. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game to make room for Monday's starting pitcher, rookie Tyler Wilson.

Rondon was the beneficiary of some fine defense late in the game. With a runner on second and one out in the sixth, J.J. Hardy saved a run with a diving stop up the middle, snagging Nick Castellanos' grounder and throwing him out from his knees.

In the seventh, Gose advanced from first to third on a wild pitch that eluded catcher Matt Wieters. But on the next play, Jones caught Iglesias' liner to center and threw Gose out at home for his ninth outfield assist of the season and the Orioles' majors-leading 31st outfield assist.

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