Lefty Brian Matusz again excelled on the mound and Endy Chavez homered against reigning American League Cy Young/Most Valuable Player Award winner Justin Verlander, but the Orioles still fell to the Detroit Tigers, 4-2, on Thursday.
Matusz continued to do his part, limiting a stacked Tigers lineup to just two hits and a hit batsman while striking out six in four scoreless innings.
Matusz has pitched eight scoreless in his past two games – he threw four against the Philadelphia Phillies in his previous outing – providing hope that the 25-year-old can return to the 2010 form that made him one of the better young pitchers in the American League.
"He pitched a couple games on the road against what we like to call home-game lineups," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's early, but I just like to see the ball come out of his hand good and commanding all his pitches, regardless of who and where he is pitching. I am happy for Brian as much as anything."
Matusz struggled mightily last year, going 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA and entered camp fighting for a spot in the rotation.
"Every game for me is the same -- whether it's the spring or the regular season," Matusz said. "It really doesn't matter. Every time I get the ball, I want to get that guy out. That's how I did it today."
Matusz actually out-pitched Verlander, who gave up the leadoff homer to Chavez and then just two other hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out eight.
The Tigers took the lead with a three-run sixth against Miguel Socolovich, who left the game mid-inning with groin tightness.
The Orioles dropped to 4-6 in exhibition games.