DETROIT -- Michael Fulmer continues to defy the idea of a sophomore slump. The reigning American League Rookie of the Year delivered seven strong innings, supported by two Tyler Collins home runs, for his fourth win in his last five starts as the Tigers took a 5-4 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
Fulmer (5-1) gave up four runs, three earned, to a slugging O's lineup that overpowered Tigers pitching in a 13-inning game one night earlier, but he pitched his way out of further trouble. That kept the Tigers close for Collins, who followed up his second-inning solo homer with a go-ahead three-run drive in the fifth.
"Obviously, I didn't want to give up that many runs," said Fulmer, whose previous season high was three runs allowed. "But I feel like they hit every mistake that I made. I thought I had my best stuff today, or close to it. Velocity was there. Location, fastball command was there. The only thing I was worried about was the slider tonight."
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead on Fulmer in the second inning, but it could've been more if not for Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, whose great glove flip to Ian Kinsler at second forced out Trey Mancini on a bases-loaded grounder by J.J. Hardy. Fulmer followed by striking out Seth Smith to end the inning.
Both of Collins' homers came off Ubaldo Jimenez (1-2), who left before the sixth inning for the fifth time in seven starts this season.
"We were using a lot of fastball. Early in the game -- a lot of offspeed, and it looked like there wasn't the offspeed. Anything offspeed that he'd throw, they were on it," Orioles catcher Welington Castillo said of Jimenez, who has a 6.52 ERA on the season. "We tried to change that and then attack more with the fastball in and out. I think that's why he got through five innings or whatever he threw. Just a couple mistakes. Two hanging changeups to Collins, and the split, too. I think that cost the game."
The O's moved the tying run to third base in the ninth, but Justin Wilson drew a check-swing call from first-base umpire CB Bucknor to strike out Manny Machado and wrap up his third save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Collins connects: The last time Collins had a base hit was May 1, in the middle of the Tigers' previous homestand. He had been 0-for-30 since then until he drove a Jimenez slider 416 feet to left-center field with one out in the second inning, opening the Tigers' scoring. With runners on second and third and two outs in the fifth, Collins pulled another Jimenez pitch into the right-field seats, pulling Detroit in front for good. More >
Fulmer silences O's in seventh: For the second straight night, Baltimore had a chance to rally from a go-ahead homer. This time, however, Fulmer sent down the middle of the Orioles' order after Smith's leadoff single put the potential tying run on base in the seventh. Machado's groundout moved Smith to second, but with first base open, Fulmer opted to pitch to Chris Davis, recovering from a 2-0 count with three straight fastballs inside -- one fouled off, one missed, the other drawing a called third strike.
"You can see why he's so good. He figured out a way to get through seven innings," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Fulmer. "Really some of his best stuff of the night was in that seventh inning. Really shortened the game for them."
"I see it as experiences that you have to learn and grow from it. Get better every day. I'm thankful for the opportunity and I just want to get better every day." -- Orioles pitcher Miguel Castro, who was recalled after just one outing at Double-A Bowie to help the bullpen
"He wanted another four-seam fastball, and I said, 'Well, I think those last two four-seams that he swung at were off the plate a little bit, so I think if he sees another one in there, he's going to give up on it. Let's go front-door sinker here.' He said, 'I like it. Just don't miss over the middle.'" -- Fulmer, on his conversation with catcher James McCann before the 2-2 pitch to Davis in the seventh
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Collins is the first player since at least 1913 to enter a game with an 0-for-30 streak or longer and respond with a multi-homer game, according to STATS, Inc.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles:Dylan Bundy (5-1, 2.26), unbeaten in his last six starts, will try to take the series for Baltimore as the three-game set wraps up Thursday with a 1:05 p.m. ET finale at Comerica Park. Bundy's lone career outing against Detroit was a relief appearance last season.
Tigers:Jordan Zimmermann (3-2, 6.28) takes the mound for Thursday's series finale, trying to break the hex that the O's have put on him. He's 2-4 with a 5.82 ERA against Baltimore dating back to his Washington days, including six runs in an inning-plus last year.