Maroth loses no-hit bid

Larry Lage and Larry Lage

DETROIT — Baltimore swept a doubleheader against Detroit with a pitcher who didn’t throw a pitch and against one who didn’t allow a hit through seven innings.

“It really is unbelievable,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said after losing to the Orioles 5-2 and 6-4 yesterday. “We’ve all said it, if you’ve been in this game, you’ve never seen it all. But my gosh, what happened is tough to swallow.”

In the second game, Jay Gibbons broke up Mike Maroth’s no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the eighth and the Orioles went on to score six runs with two outs in the inning.

In the opener, Gibbons hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth as Baltimore rallied to win 5-2.

“Very bizarre day,” Gibbons said.

B.J. Ryan (3-0) earned the first win without throwing a pitch after he picked off Omar Infante on first base when he relived Pat Hentgen with two outs in the seventh.

“What a country,” Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove said. “I’ve seen a guy get beat in a no-hitter, but I’ve never seen that.” The Tigers dropped to 3-23 after losing their fourth straight game. Detroit has a chance to reverse the 35-5 start that Trammell and the Tigers got off to in 1984 before going on to win the franchise’s fourth and most recent World Series title.

“I’m shell-shocked, but I will show up again,” said Trammell, a rookie manager. “For some reason, there’s a black cloud right now. It can be a cruel game.”

Fewer than 1,000 fans appeared to be at Comerica Park during the late-afternoon contest. By the time a heavy rain fell in the eighth inning, there didn’t seem to be more than 100 people at the ballpark.

The Tigers said 16,177 tickets were sold, but several thousand fans didn’t show up despite the 73-degree temperature when the first game started.

“What made the day worse was nobody was in the stands,” Detroit’s Dmitri Young said. “Nobody is behind us. These people don’t care about us. I’d rather be on the road.”

The Orioles (15-12) are three games above .500 for the first time since May 4, 2000. Baltimore has won four straight and 13 of 19 after starting 2-6.

“I’d say we’re on a roll,” Gibbons said.

In the second game, Tony Batista followed Gibbons’ hit with a single to put runners on first and second. Maroth (0-7) retired the next two batters before things got really ugly for the team that easily has the worst record in baseball.

Maroth threw a wild pitch to score Gibbons and cut Detroit’s lead to 3-1. Geronimo Gil followed with an RBI single and Jerry Hairston’s bunt single chased Maroth.

Matt Anderson then walked Melvin Mora to load the bases. Gary Matthews followed with a hard grounder down the line that was stopped by first baseman Carlos Pena. But the Orioles scored two runs — to take a 4-3 lead — when Pena’s toss to Anderson didn’t get Matthews out and Anderson’s relay home was too late to prevent the go-ahead run.

Jeff Conine and Gibbons added RBI singles to make it 6-3. “I went from a feeling I’ve never had on the mound to being dazed and stunned,” Maroth said. “For everything to happen as quick as it did is the toughest part.”

Omar Daal (2-3) gave up three runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out four over seven innings.

Jorge Julio pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the day and eighth of the season.

Maroth retired the first 11 Orioles before hitting Matthews with a pitch with two outs in the fifth. Young preserved the no-hit bid at third base with a diving stop and throw for the first out in the fifth, and a stop and a throw — from his knees — for the last out in the sixth.

Maroth gave up four runs on four hits and no walks while striking out five over 7 2-3 innings to lose his seventh straight decision to open the season.

“If it ever happens again, I’ll remember the feeling I had,” Maroth said. “Hopefully, I can forget the feeling I had after the inning.”