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Both the Orioles and Tigers spent all day cooped up in their respective clubhouses as rain threatened Detroit all Saturday afternoon. Once they were let outside for some baseball, it seems the Orioles appreciated that reprieve much more than their hosts.

Center fielder Adam Jones homered on the first pitch of the game, and the Orioles rolled to an 11-3 win to move a game ahead of the Tigers for the second American League wild card before 36,634 at Comerica Park.

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"Well, we were in a little bit of a delay, and I didn't want to delay the game anymore or delay the process of this game," Jones said. "I've been fined more than anybody in baseball by the league and Joe Garagiola and Mr. [Joe] Torre [for taking too long to get into the batter's box], and I just felt like I needed to get in there and get something going on. I think since I've been leading off, I've been aggressive. I'm just trying to jump-start this team.

"Obviously, a big win for us. I'm glad it got out, obviously, then [Chris Davis] followed it up. But the story of the day was Ubaldo [Jimenez]. A tough lineup they have over there, top to bottom. They're similar to us in the sense that they can hit the ball out of the park, and he went out there, seven innings, two runs, and to me, that's the story of the game."

The Orioles improved to 77-64, pulling to within two games of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East.

Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann, who returned Saturday after a month on the disabled list with a neck injury, was yanked before he recorded an out in the second inning. Before that, he allowed two-run home runs to Davis in the first inning and catcher Matt Wieters in the second.

"We were talking today about how good of a pitcher we faced last night," manager Buck Showalter said. "Zimmermann's a really good pitcher, too. We just faced him at the right time of the year. I wouldn't want to face him next time out."

Jimenez earned another win to pull his season ERA below six (5.98) for the first time since May 17. Tyler Wilson allowed a run in the eighth in his first appearance since being recalled on Sept. 2, and Zach Britton pitched a scoreless ninth.

Jimenez delivers again

The revival of Jimenez's season (and quite possibly his career) continued Saturday with another gem of an outing against the Tigers. Jimenez, as he's wont to do, took a while to settle in and gave up a run on two hits and a walk in the first inning, then proceeded to allow just four more base runners in his final six innings.

He loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, but got out of it with one run in only because Davis stepped on first on a one-out ground ball instead of coming home, where he appeared to still have a play.

Jimenez allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts, lowering his second-half ERA to 3.24, including a 2.83 ERA over his past four starts.

"It feels great," Jimenez said. "It feels great to be able to finally be there for the team, since it wasn't going the way I wanted it to at first. But that's the beauty of life and this game – every day is a new day. You can't give up. You have to find a way to keep fighting."

Wieters great at eight

Batting eighth for just the second time this season, catcher Matt Wieters showed he'll hit wherever you put him. With two home runs — both from the left side, with one to right field and the other to left-center — gave him 14 on the season and his sixth career multihomer game.

Everybody hits

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Among Orioles starters, only second baseman Jonathan Schoop was kept off the basepaths Saturday night. Third baseman Manny Machado and designated hitter Pedro Alvarez each walked twice and had two runs, with Machado adding a fourth-inning single.

Jones had three hits and a walk to put him on base in each of his first four trips, right fielder Mark Trumbo had an RBI double in the fourth inning and shortstop J.J. Hardy singled twice in the first three innings. The Orioles finished with 12 hits and went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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