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Tigers split with O's, remain on track for top draft pick

Mon Sep 16 7:14pm ET
By DAVE HOGG
Associated Press

Players: Miguel Cabrera, Mark Trumbo, Jordy Mercer, Jonathan Villar, Adam Plutko, Dawel Lugo, Anthony Santander, Trey Mancini, Tyler Alexander

Detroit Tigers' Jordy Mercer (7) celebrates his two-run home run with Victor Reyes in the first inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Fans watch at Comerica Park watch the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Fans watch at Comerica Park watch the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Jimenez throws against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Jimenez reacts after striking out Baltimore Orioles' Trey Mancini for the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Villar throws to first base for an out on Detroit Tigers' Travis Demeritte's ground ball in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Baltimore Orioles' Trey Mancini (16) celebrates his solo home run against the Detroit Tigers in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Detroit, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


DETROIT (AP) Jordy Mercer hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Monday to split a four-game series between the teams with the worst records in the major leagues.

After the first series in American League history between teams in 50 or more games under .500, Detroit (45-104) has a 3+ game ''lead'' over Baltimore (49-101) for the top pick in June's amateur draft, which goes to the club with the lowest winning percentage this season.

Detroit needs to win one of its final six games at Comerica Park to avoid breaking the major league record of 59 home losses, set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns.

Tyler Alexander (1-3), a 24-year-old left-hander forced into the rotation by a doubleheader last week, got his first big league win. Before a crowd announced at 14,142, he allowed one run and four hits in six innings during his first major league start since Aug. 7.

Joe Jimenez retired the first two batters in the ninth before the Orioles loaded the bases on three singles. Trey Mancini, who hit his third homer of the series in the sixth inning, struck out on three pitches.

John Means (10-11) gave up five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Detroit led 2-0 after its first two batters. Victor Reyes tripled over center fielder Austin Hays' and Mercer hit the next pitch into the Baltimore bullpen in left-center for his ninth homer. Victor Reyes made it 4-0 with a two-out, two-run double in the fifth and Dawel Lugo hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Jonathan Villar led off the seventh with a triple off Jose Cisnero and scored on Hays' single.

RARE FEAT

Orioles LF Stevie Wilkerson and RF Anthony Santander recorded an assist on the same play in the fifth inning. Reyes overran second on his two-run double, hoping to draw a throw that would ensure a second run scored. Wilkerson's throw was on target, but Reyes stayed in the rundown long enough that Santander ended up coming in from right to take part in a 7-6-3-5-9-3-4 putout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: DH Mark Trumbo was a late scratch from the Baltimore lineup because of a trapezius strain.

Tigers: DH Miguel Cabrera returned to the lineup after a flareup in his right knee forced him to leave Saturday's game early and sit out on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Baltimore starts a three-game series Tuesday against visiting Toronto, which starts RHP Trent Thornton (5-9, 5.04).

Tigers: Detroit heads across Lake Erie for three games against the Indians, who are 15-1 against the Tigers this season. Detroit planned to start an opener on Tuesday against RHP Adam Plutko (6-4).

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