BALTIMORE — The Detroit Tigers traded away their slugger, and then hit three home runs on their way to a six-run lead.
Soon after that, a difficult afternoon turned into a lost night as the Tigers gave away the advantage and fell 8-7 to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.
After dealing away ace left-hander David Price and closer Joakim Soria on Thursday, general manager Dave Dombrowski continued his purge with an eye toward the future, shipping Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets for two minor leaguers ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.
"I thought he was going to stay here and continue to give us a chance to win," shortstop Jose Iglesias said.
No such luck. And although the Tigers had a 6-0 lead in the fourth inning, it wasn't enough.
Adam Jones and Manny Machado homered for the Orioles, who traded for outfielder Gerardo Parra in an effort to keep the heat on Minnesota for the second AL wild card.
Detroit, on the other hand, will have to hope its decimated squad can win in spite of the recent roster subtractions.
"I think we've got a chance to steal the wild-card thing," Iglesias insisted. "I don't know. We'll see what we're going to do with it."
Detroit compensated for the loss of Cespedes with three long balls off Wei-Yin Chen, including the 28th of the season by J.D. Martinez. Ian Kinsler had four hits and Jefry Marte finished with three.
"Guys continue to play hard," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Offensively we're fine right now. A week ago we couldn't buy a run. Now we seem to get runs but we can't seem to hold them."
As has often been the case this season, the Tigers — whose ERA ranks 13th in the AL — couldn't generate enough offense to overcome their shoddy bullpen.
Making his big league debut, Jose Valdez (0-1) gave up a sixth-inning homer to Machado. Detroit also made two errors, the last of which let in the final run in the pivotal sixth.
Chen allowed six runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings. It was the most runs he had given up since yielding eight against Boston on Aug. 27, 2013.
Mychal Givens (1-0) earned his first big league win with 1 2-3 innings of one-hit relief, and Zach Britton got three outs for his 27th save.
Kinsler singled in a first-inning run and Marte made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the second. Martinez connected in the third with a man on, and it became 6-0 when James McCann and Marte homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth.
Baltimore began its comeback with an unearned run in the fourth, and then closed to 6-5 with a four-run fifth. With one out, Jimmy Paredes lined a single off the left leg of starter Buck Farmer, who limped around the mound after impact. Although he appeared a bit tentative as he warmed up in front of manager Brad Ausmus, Farmer had a 6-1 lead and needed only two more outs to qualify for his first major league win.
Four pitches later, Jones ended the rookie's outing with a three-run homer.
Ian Krol followed, getting two outs and giving up two runs.
"The hitting was there, the pitching wasn't there," Krol said. "That seems to be the problem so far in our season. But I believe in this team."
Tigers: Valdez and OF Tyler Collins were recalled from Triple-A Toledo ... Detroit activated LHP Daniel Norris, acquired in the trade that sent Price to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Orioles: Givens and RHP Mike Wright were recalled from the minors. Wright got in the game but lasted only one inning before leaving with a left calf cramp that manager Buck Showalter said might actually be a strain.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman is nursing a sprained right ankle that might push back his start Monday in Oakland.
Tigers: Anibal Sanchez (10-8, 4.61 ERA) beat the Orioles on July 17 and will seek an encore on Saturday night.
Orioles: Kevin Gausman (1-2, 4.20 ERA) strives for his first win since April 7. He has had 12 appearances since then, including five starts.