Orioles complete division sweep of Tigers

Sun Oct 5, 2014 9:14pm EDT
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DETROIT (Reuters) - The Baltimore Orioles advanced to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) with a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday that gave them a three-game sweep of their best-of-five Division Series.

Orioles starter Bud Norris and two relievers combined to hold the home team to four hits, and slugger Nelson Cruz provided the offensive support with a two-run homer in the sixth off Tigers' left-hander David Price.

Detroit rallied in the bottom of the ninth, cutting Baltimore's 2-0 lead in half with back-to-back doubles from lead-off hitter Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez off closer Zach Britton, but he escaped with a game-ending double play.

In the series, Baltimore overcame a trio of Cy Young winners in Detroit starters Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Price as the AL East champions advanced to the ALCS for the first time since 1997 in pursuit of their first World Series in 31 years.

"It means we won an opportunity," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter after registering the first playoff series triumph of his 16-season major league career. "They've got a lot to be proud of," he said of his team. "But it's just a step."

Detroit's first-year manager Brad Ausmus was stung by the defeat.

"You feel like you let the fans down. You feel like you let the organization down," Ausmus told reporters. "It's disappointing. Nothing you can do anything about now."

CRUZ MISSILE   Continued...

Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Baltimore Orioles players celebrate their win in the locker room after defeating the Detroit Tigers in game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Comerica Park. The Orioles move on to the ALCS with 2-1 win over the Tigers. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports