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Upton's grand night lifts Tigers past Orioles

August 4, 2017

BALTIMORE -- Red-hot Justin Upton delivered his second grand slam in the past week, a one-out eighth-inning blast off reliever Mychal Givens that kept the Tigers rolling with a 5-2 win over the Orioles on Friday night."I mean, in that situation I was looking for something that I could drive

BALTIMORE -- Red-hot Justin Upton delivered his second grand slam in the past week, a one-out eighth-inning blast off reliever Mychal Givens that kept the Tigers rolling with a 5-2 win over the Orioles on Friday night.
"I mean, in that situation I was looking for something that I could drive to the outfield," Upton said. "And a slider sat in the middle of the plate and I took [advantage]."
Detroit has now won six of its past seven games and was able to reward starter Justin Verlander -- who had taken the loss in two of his last three quality starts -- with a "W" for his seven solid innings. Verlander held the O's to a pair of solo homers, by Timothy Beckham -- who had a three-hit night -- and Manny Machado, striking out 10 en route to his fourth consecutive quality start.

"He actually mixed his breaking balls well. He didn't just go with the slider or the curveball," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "The fastball is always a key for him. He can pitch up with it, certainly down on both sides. I thought he used the curveball well at times. He got some strikeouts looking, got some swings on the slower curveball. The slider was good, but I thought the curveball was good for him."

With the Tigers down by a run and the bases loaded, Upton sent the first pitch he saw into the left-field seats for his 20th homer. Upton, who has four homers and 14 RBIs over his past six games, has 75 RBIs.
"As lopsided of a year he had in 2016, he's been the model of consistency this year," Ausmus said. "He's really been the one guy who's hit the whole way through. He's obviously driving in runs, hitting home runs, when he gets a hold of one, it comes off hard and it comes off fast. He's been that guy."
The Tigers' defense also highlighted the win, with shortstop Jose Iglesias making a terrific stop up the middle before firing and throwing to get Machado for the second out of the eighth. Centerfielder Michael Mahtook made a nice on-the-run grab on a deep ball by Jonathan Schoop -- potentially robbing Schoop of a homer -- to end the inning.

The loss, the O's second straight after sweeping Kansas City, erased a stellar effort from Baltimore starter Kevin Gausman.
Gausman went seven innings and held the Tigers to one run, a first-inning shot from Jim Adduci. It marked Adduci's second career homer and first with the Tigers.

"I've been real impressed with how Kevin is holding his stuff late in the game. Especially the last three or four starts," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He seems to be getting stronger as the season goes on, his velocity, Mychal's was as good as it's been all year too. It's unfortunate he didn't get a better result for the pitches he made to the first two hitters [in the eighth]."
All the way Up-ton: After Gausman exited, back-to-back singles from James McCann and Iglesias turned the lineup over with no outs in the eighth. One out later, Givens walked Adduci to load the bases for Upton, who responded with his third grand slam of the season.
"Our guys just took what he gave us," Upton said. "They weren't the hardest hit balls, but we kept putting the ball in play and Adduci had a good at-bat and they put me in a situation where I could tie the game on a fly ball to the outfield. I got a pitch that I could elevate and I got a barrel on it."
Verlander escapes: The Orioles threatened to add to their lead in the seventh inning. Beckham had a leadoff single and, one out later, Seth Smith doubled off the right-field scoreboard to put runners on second and third. But that was as close as they would get as Caleb Joseph, despite being hit by Verlander's pitch, had his bat break the home-plate plane and was ruled to strike out on a failed check swing.

"We know facing him in years past he'll tick the fastball late in the game when he needs to. The first two pitches were real hard and the last pitch was 101 mph and as you see it, you've got to be ready to hit that ball," Joseph said. "So you make a first move and, as the ball is coming into your face, you are trying to get out of the way. I was just trying to get out of the way and it hit my hand."
Joseph and Showalter argued to no avail and Craig Gentry popped up to end the inning.
"He's not going out of his way to fit in, I think guys are going out of their way to make his path easier. But we'll see when the novelty of a new team wears off. But what do you want? You'd rather have it be this way. I don't think anybody can stay at the pace he's performing at right now, especially offensively."
-- Showalter on Beckham, who is 11-for-16 with three doubles, one triple and two homers since being traded to the Orioles on Monday
"[Adduci's] been good. You know, when he was up here earlier he was a huge spark. He was getting hits all over the place. It was good to see the ball leave the yard for him. I think he said he passed his dad in career home runs now, so it was a big moment for him. He's been consistent. He's contributed well."
-- Ausmus
The Orioles challenged the out call on Beckham's attempt to advance to third base in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch by Bruce Rondon. Beckham, who raced to third, was ruled out after a review of 1 minute, 19 seconds, with the on-field call standing.
Tigers: After Michael Fulmer was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier this week, the Tigers announced after Friday's game that Drew VerHagen will take the mound in the third game of the four-game set against the Orioles at 7:05 p.m. ET Saturday. VerHagen will make just his second career Major League start. In 19 Minor League starts in Triple-A Toledo this season, the righty has posted a 4.90 ERA with 69 strikeouts.
Orioles: The Orioles will counter by sending Wade Miley to the mound on Saturday. Miley has not logged a quality start since June 1. Since then, he has gone 3-6 with a 9.06 ERA. Miley did get the win last time out against the Rangers -- giving up two runs on four hits through five innings.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for based in Baltimore who covered the Tigers on Friday.