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AL Central-leading Tigers beat Orioles 7-3

Detroit Tigers' Magglio Ordonez, right, is congratulated by third base coach Gene Lamont after hitting a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles.
Detroit Tigers' Magglio Ordonez, right, is congratulated by third base coach Gene Lamont after hitting a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles.
Duane Burleson, Associated Press

DETROIT — Alex Avila set off one of the most enthusiastic celebrations in the Detroit Tigers' front office box since Magglio Ordonez's homer lifted them into the 2006 World Series.

The son of Detroit's assistant general manager hit a two-out RBI double in the third inning of his major league debut to help the Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3 on Thursday.

"It was incredible," he said.

Avila's father, Al Avila, was hugged by Hall of Famer Al Kaline and congratulated enthusiastically by team president Dave Dombrowski and vice president John Westoff.

"Wow," Dombrowski said after sitting back down.

Avila said his mother, fiance, her family, a cousin and some friends from high school were there to share the moment, too.

"If his dad is not too cheap, he'll buy him dinner," Detroit manager Jim Leyland joked.

Avila said his father planned to host a barbecue at his house Thursday evening.

"It should be a fun night," said the former Alabama standout and 2008 fifth-round pick, who was recalled from Double-A Erie on Wednesday.

Brandon Inge hit a two-run homer in a four-run second inning and Rick Porcello didn't give up a hit until the fifth, helping the Tigers win the four-game series and stay atop the AL Central heading into a matchup with the third-place Minnesota Twins.

Detroit has won twice as many games as it has lost at Comerica Park this season and is a baseball-best 19-6 at home since June 6.

"I've been asked about that 1,000 times and I still don't have an explanation," Leyland said. "The teams in baseball that are fighting for something have to win on the road."

The Orioles have been struggling home and away, losing 15 of 20 since the All-Star game.

"When you are losing, it doesn't matter who you've been playing, it is still tough," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. "But since the All-Star break, we've faced contenders the whole way. We had one series against Kansas City, but other than that, it is has all been top teams."

Porcello (10-7) became just the second pitcher in franchise history with double digits in wins at the age of 20 or younger, joining Dave Rozema, who had 11 victories before his 21st birthday.

The rookie gave up two runs on four hits over 5 2-3 innings. He gave up only one run in his last start after allowing 19 runs in his previous four.

"I'm definitely getting my confidence back," Porcello said. "I'm throwing my breaking pitch for strikes to get guys off my fastball."

David Hernandez (3-4) gave up five runs and seven hits, needing 81 pitches to get through three innings in his shortest start.

"I was pressing out there," he said. "You aren't always going to have your best stuff, and today was one of those days. But you still have to go out there and battle and try to give your team a chance. I didn't get that done."

The Tigers hit for the cycle as a team in a span of five at-bats in the second inning to help them take a 4-0 lead.

"It was kind of a fun inning," Leyland said.

Inge hit a two-run homer one pitch after Magglio Ordonez singled. Ramon Santiago later had a two-out triple and scored on Curtis Granderson's double. Placido Polanco's grounder off third base bounced into the outfield for the fourth RBI of the inning.

"We're used to seeing (Hernandez) throw 94 or 95, and it was 90 or 91," Trembley said. "In that inning where they batted around on him, it seemed like he had two strikes on a lot of guys, but he didn't have a put-away pitch."

Baltimore's Ty Wigginton was the first to get a hit off Porcello, singling to lead off the fifth inning and scoring on Felix Pie's single. Wigginton's RBI double in the sixth ended Porcello's day.

Fu-Te Ni followed with 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief to help Detroit keep its cushion, Bobby Seay gave up a run and Brandon Lyon pitched the last 1 2-3 innings, earning his first save in three chances.

"Lyon has been very good for a while, knock on wood," said Leyland, who needs Lyon to be a dependable reliever with Joel Zumaya out for the year with a shoulder injury.

NOTES: Inge's 22nd homer was his first since the All-Star break. ... Hernandez beat Detroit on May 28 in his major league debut. ... Ordonez is hitting .316 in his last 10 games. ... Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman was to throw 25 pitches Thursday night for Triple-A Toledo, hoping to take another step toward coming back as a reliever. ... Orioles RHP Koji Uehara (hamstring) is expected to start a throwing program next week.