DETROIT (AP) — Bud Norris vs. Rick Porcello was no contest — and not even a gallant ninth-inning rally could help the Baltimore Orioles overcome their starting pitcher's tough day.
Norris allowed five runs in five innings, and the Orioles dropped their fourth straight, 7-6 to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. Baltimore scored five runs in the ninth but fell just short of a remarkable comeback against closer Joe Nathan.
Torii Hunter homered and drove in five runs for the Tigers.
"I knew we were going to make a run, but it was a little too late," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "We've got the first part of games down, and we're doing well at the ends of games, but we've got to figure out how to hold our own in the middle. The starters have to get us deeper into games."
Porcello (1-0) allowed a run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Tigers. Nathan got the final two outs for his first save, retiring Chris Davis on a flyout with two on to end it.
Hunter hit a three-run double in the third, then added a two-run drive in the fifth for his second homer of the year.
Norris (0-1) allowed nine hits and struck out only two. It's been a rough start for the Orioles, who opened with three games against Boston and then had to come to Detroit.
"I think we're a lot better than we've looked," Norris said. "This has been tough, because we've been pitching in cold weather, and we started out against the world champs and then came to Detroit, and everyone knows what this team can do. You make a mistake against those guys, and you pay for it."
Detroit's Brad Ausmus became the first manager in more than a decade to begin his career with four straight wins, according to STATS. Clint Hurdle of Colorado and Jerry Royster of Milwaukee both did it in 2002.
Ausmus took over for Jim Leyland after last season, and the three-time defending AL Central champions are off to a good start — although the Tigers nearly frittered this game away.
After Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque couldn't close out the Orioles, Nathan came on with two on, one out and the score 7-3.
Steve Lombardozzi singled to deep right to load the bases, and pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger's double made it 7-5. David Lough brought home another run with a grounder to shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who threw wide of first for an error.
With men on first and second, Nathan struck out Nelson Cruz and got Davis to hit a lazy fly to left.
"The momentum's obviously swinging their way," Nathan said. "Sometimes the hardest thing to do in those situations is stop the bleeding."
The 25-year-old Porcello already has five full seasons under his belt. If he blossoms into a true standout, Detroit's already-excellent rotation will look even tougher.
Porcello struck out only three with two walks, but he didn't allow a hit after the second inning. Only one of the final 17 batters he faced reached base.
Davis opened the scoring in the first with an RBI single for Baltimore, but he was thrown out trying to take second. The Tigers took the lead in the third when Hunter's line drive to the corner in left field cleared the bases. His homer in the fifth made it 5-1.
Adam Jones hit an RBI triple off Coke in the ninth for the Orioles, and he scored on Nick Markakis' groundout to make it 7-3.
NOTES: The temperature at game time was 41 degrees. ... Orioles SS J.J. Hardy prevented further damage in the third with a diving stop on Victor Martinez's grounder. ... Detroit's Justin Verlander (0-0) will face Baltimore's Chris Tillman (0-0) on Sunday.