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Ubaldo Jiménez enjoys Orioles' homer barrage, turns in another solid start in 12-3 win over Tigers

Right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez has been pitching well lately, but the Orioles hitters weren't taking any chances Sunday.

The O's hit three consecutive home runs off Detroit Tigers pitcher Aníbal Sánchez in the first inning and cleared the fences two more times on the way to a 12-3 victory that allowed the Orioles to salvage a split of the four-game series at Camden Yards.

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The offense got after Sánchez in a hurry, scoring four runs in the first inning, one in the second and three in the fourth before Jiménez gave up a run.

"Fortunately, Sánchez made some mistakes and our guys were on them," manager Buck Showalter said. "Sometimes in a day game after a night game, it's sometimes a few innings before you get on track, but they made him pay for the mistakes he made. You knew the ball was going to be flying out today."

Jiménez, whose struggles this season and throughout his Orioles career have been well-chronicled, pitched well for the third straight time. He gave up just two runs on three hits over six innings in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 26 and gave up just one run on five hits over seven innings in a victory last week over the then-streaking Kansas City Royals.

Sunday afternoon, he wasn't quite so efficient, but he didn't have to be on the way to his fifth victory in 12 decisions. He gave up a leadoff double to Ian Kinsler in the first inning and worked out of trouble with a couple of strikeouts. He also allowed two hits in the second before getting out of the inning with a double play.

By that time, he had to be pretty comfortable, since Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis and Trey Mancini homered back-to-back-to-back in the first inning and Manny Machado doubled home the Orioles' fifth run in the second inning.

Joey Rickard and Machado would add homers in a three-run fourth and Jiménez would leave the game in the sixth to a rare standing ovation from the announced 30,144. He allowed a run on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings and struck out six.

"It wasn't pretty, but I got the job done,'' Jiménez said. "I was happy that I was able to compete. They didn't make it easy for me at all. They got a lot of hits. They took a good approach hitting the ball to the opposite field. But the guys picked me up. They scored a lot of runs and played great defense."

Schoop's first-inning homer boosted him into sole possession of the American League RBI lead with 82, temporarily leaving behind former teammate and mentor Nelson Cruz. But Cruz would snatch the lead back when he hit a three-run home run for the Mariners early in their game Sunday against the Royals in Kansas City.

Hat trick factoid: The first-inning homer barrage was the first set of back-to-back-to-back homers by the Orioles this season. The last time they pulled off that feat was Aug.19 of last year, when Machado, Davis and Mark Trumbo turned the hat trick against the Houston Astros.

Four-hit wonders: Machado and Rickard each had four hits Sunday. Machado finished the week with 13 hits — including two homers and four doubles — in 30 at-bats. Machado's homer was the 5,000th hit by an Oriole in Baltimore.

Joey's career high: Rickard set a career high with his four-hit game and had a chance to hit for the cycle when he came to the plate in the eighth inning. He needed a triple, but would settle for an infield single.

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