Baseball / Sports

Norris pitches into 8th inning, gets ejected in Orioles' 4-1 loss to Tigers

BALTIMORE -- Bud Norris silenced the Detroit Tigers' bats early Monday night, but he left his longest outing of the season after hearing it from Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter.

The Orioles right-hander's night ended when he was ejected from the game after tempers flared and both dugouts and bullpens emptied after he hit Hunter with a pitch.

Norris had just allowed a two-run homer to Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who took a second to watch the ball land in the left-field seats, which served as an eighth-inning dagger in the Orioles' 4-1 loss to the Tigers.

Two pitches later, Norris hit Torii Hunter with a 93-mph fastball on an 0-1 count.

Hunter took exception and started yelling to Norris on the mound. Replays showed Hunter launching an obscenity-laced tirade on Norris, including saying, "I will whoop your (butt)." Players and coaches came onto the field.

No punches were thrown, but when the field cleared, Norris was ejected from the game by home plate umpire James Hoye, and Hunter was still yelling emphatically toward the Orioles' dugout.

Following a 35-minute rain delay before the game, Norris held the Tigers in check most of the night. He retired the first nine Detroit batters he faced, including one span where he struck out four straight.

Norris kept the Orioles within reach until allowing Kinsler's homer with two outs in the eighth. Norris went 7 2/3 innings, his longest of the season, allowing four runs and five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

The Orioles (20-16) remained in first place in the American League East, but they have won just three of 10 games against AL Central opponents this year.

The Tigers (22-12) came to Camden Yards with the AL's best record, and leading the league in team batting average (.282), but they had lost three of their last four games before Monday.

It wasn't the first time tempers flared with Norris on the mound. During a game in Boston on April 19, Red Sox catcher David Ross yelled to Norris after three pitches came inside on him while trying to sacrifice bunt. Both dugouts emptied in that game as well.

Pittsburgh's Neil Walker also yelled at Norris after being hit by a pitch in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Pirates on May 1.

Norris (2-3) issued a leadoff walk to Kinsler in the fourth, the first Tigers base runner of the night. Kinsler stole second and went to third on a flyout to right field and then scored the tying run on Miguel Cabrera's looping single to center field, the Tigers' first hit off Norris.

Victor Martinez followed with a double that placed two runners in scoring position, and Austin Jackson's sacrifice fly to center field scored Cabrera and gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead.

Catcher Steve Clevenger had three hits and drove in the game's first run with two outs in the second inning, slapping a 1-2 pitch down the left-field line for an RBI double.

Clevenger's double hit off the bottom of the left-field wall just out of the reach of Tigers left fielder Rajai Davis, scoring J.J. Hardy from first base.

Delmon Young then hit a grounder to shortstop Austin Romine in the hole, but Romine's high throw brought Cabrera off the bag at first base, putting runners at the corners.

That would be the final time the Orioles had a runner in scoring position against Porcello (6-1), who allowed just three singles over his final four innings of work. He left after six innings, having allowed one run on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks.

Clevenger hit a leadoff double into the right-center field gap off left-handed reliever Ian Krol to open the seventh inning, but he was stranded on third base.

Some solid defense kept the Orioles close. It's rare to see a pitcher catch a fly ball, but Norris chased a popup by Romine into foul ground and made the catch just before running into the railing off the third base dugout.

Hardy also made a tremendous diving snag on Cabrera's line drive up the middle to end the sixth inning.

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