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Orioles finally run into a team that doesn't bite and beat Detroit Tigers, 5-3

The Orioles had every right to come home from Denver with a mile-high hangover. They suffered another staggering walk-off loss Sunday, their flight back was delayed by a hail storm and they rolled out of bed to play their Memorial Day afternoon game on half a night’s sleep.

If that sounds like a prescription for a day of fatigue and frustration, the O’s instead found the perfect antidote. They welcomed a Detroit Tigers team that has been struggling right along with them and scored four times in the first three innings of a 5-3 victory before an announced crowd of 18,004 at Camden Yards.

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Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa delivered a short-but-solid spot start, allowing two runs on five hits before a heavy pitch count and a rocky fourth inning forced him to turn a two-run lead over to Dan Straily for the fifth.

The Orioles got back on the waiver wire in a big way last week, and Mike Elias explained the club's decision-making process when players become available.

The Orioles wasted no time building that early lead. Hanser Alberto, who has become one of the club’s most consistent hitters, led off the bottom of the first inning with a bunt single and ended up at second base on a throwing error. Jonathan Villar followed with a sacrifice bunt, but if the O’s were trying to play small ball, Renato Núñez didn’t get the memo.

He came up one out later and hit a mammoth fly ball that hit the very top of the left field foul pole for his 13th homer of the season and fifth in his past six games.

“It’s so typical of our team so far this year,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Tough loss yesterday. Won one out of three and could have won all three games in Colorado. Tough series against the Yankees, could have won a couple games there, then get a few hours of sleep and come here and Bert lays a drag bunt down to lead off the game for a single and Nuny goes deep. We’ve just got high-character guys who want to play.”

Alberto, who famously was designated for assignment four times in five months before landing in the O’s lineup, is playing every day and ranks second only to Trey Mancini with a .302 batting average. He said after the game that he wanted to give his team a spark.

“Yes, I wanted to do something,” Alberto said. “You know, we slept a little bit, we came to the stadium and we set up everything and went out there and gave 100 percent. Today was a really great team win. We know that we’ve been through some tough moments, but we have to stick together every single day and hopefully things will start to change.”

Núñez has been streaky this year. He got off to a quick start in April and then lapsed into a 4-for-52 slump before righting himself and scorching the ball over the past eight games.

Trying to get Mychal Givens back on track, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde will deploy his most experienced relief arm in lower-leverage situations.

Last week against the Yankees and Rockies, he had a .400/.483/1.040 slash line to go with his five home runs, eight runs scored and 10 RBIs, a performance that should make him a strong candidate for American League Player of the Week.

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“It’s got to be the information and the preparation I’ve been doing before the games,” Núñez said. “Like sitting in the video room and talking to Don Long, our hitting coach, and to Howie [Clark] and having a plan, and sticking with the plan when the game comes.”

Ynoa allowed a run in the second on a double by Tigers third baseman Brandon Dixon and a two-out RBI single by catcher Grayson Greiner, but the Orioles got two more runs in the third when Mancini scored all the way from first on a throwing error and Pedro Severino drove in Núñez from third on a sacrifice fly.

When things got dicey for Ynoa, Straily took over and initially looked like he might pick up where he left off as a starter. He was making his first relief appearance since his Orioles debut and was coming off four straight rocky starts in which he had given up 21 earned runs in 16 innings.

He allowed a single to the first batter he faced and gave up a run-scoring double to Nicholas Castellanos, who would make a base-running mistake to help Straily get out of the inning with the Orioles still on top. After that, Straily did not give up another hit until second baseman Josh Harrison led off the ninth with a single.

“Both those guys were going to go as long as possible and they both just did an outstanding job,” Hyde said of Ynoa and Straily. “We were really short today after the Colorado weekend and they both stepped up big time.

“Dan Straily … that was just a great performance. I know he feels good after having some rough outings the last few weeks. For him to come in and give us four-plus innings out of the bullpen and save a ton of guys and put up zeroes was the difference in the game.”

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Straily said it was just good to go out there and do something to help the Orioles win after struggling so mightily all month.

“It’s been a frustrating month,” Straily said, “and after I gave up that run right there before I even got an out, it just kind of clicked, like ‘Enough’s enough, let’s attack with what’s working. Let’s not get beat with what’s not. They ended up never getting to the fastball, so we just never really changed off of it.”

Right-hander Yefry Ramirez, whom the Orioles designated for assignment Wednesday, was traded Monday to the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash.

The Orioles would pad their lead in the seventh, when Villar launched a long home run that landed just below the scoreboard in the center-field bleachers, but that would not be enough to prevent another cliff-hanger finish.

Shawn Armstrong walked the first batter he faced in the ninth to put the potential tying run on base and both runners moved up on defensive indifference to build the suspense, but Armstrong retired the next three batters to record only the second save of his major league career.

Next game

Tigers@Orioles

Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.

TV: MASN2

Radio: 105.7 FM

O’s starter: RHP Dylan Bundy (2-5, 4.67 ERA)

Tigers starter: LHP Matthew Boyd (4-4, 3.11 ERA)

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