BALTIMORE — Miguel Gonzalez struggled through a miserable start and Bud Norris provided no relief.
And so, down by seven runs against a Detroit Tigers team left short-handed by trades, Baltimore appeared poised to absorb an embarrassing defeat.
Although the Orioles never quite made it all the way back, falling 9-8 on Thursday night, the spirit they displayed over the final four innings made the defeat far easier for manager Buck Showalter to swallow.
"I'll tell you, that was pretty impressive, our guys battling their way back in that," Showalter said.
Detroit led 7-0 in the fourth inning and 9-2 in the sixth before the Orioles found their groove. They cut the gap to 9-4 in the sixth, added three runs in the seventh and had the potential tying run on third in the eighth.
"We showed we are really good team and we can score," second baseman Jonathan Schoop said. "We can be down 10 runs and we can come back."
Chris Davis homered and had four RBIs, and Adam Jones also went deep for the Orioles, whose five-game winning streak ended. Baltimore gave up only seven runs in those five games.
Mired in fourth place in the AL Central, Detroit dealt starter David Price to Toronto and closer Joakim Soria to Pittsburgh hours before the start of the game.
"I would much rather be acquiring than I would be trading. But it's just where we are at this point," general manager Dave Dombrowski conceded.
After an active day of dealing, the Tigers kept busy on the bases. Detroit finished with 16 hits, including three apiece by Yeonis Cespedes, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias.
Although short-handed, the Tigers don't intend to quit in their pursuit of a wild-card spot.
"We're not giving up," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Would we rather have Price and Soria? Of course. But we don't."
Tigers starter Alfredo Simon (10-6), who came in with a 7.46 ERA in July, allowed four runs and two hits in 5 2-3 innings against the team he pitched for from 2008-11.
Alex Wilson, filling the closer's role after Soria's departure, got four outs for his first save.
Gonzalez (9-7) allowed five runs and a career-high-tying 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings. He was replaced by Norris, who yielded four runs and six hits over 2 2-3 innings.
"They definitely came out and swung the bat pretty good," Gonzalez said. "They were aggressive since the first inning."
Seven of the first nine Detroit batters got hits, but the only damaging blow was a two-run double by J.D. Martinez in the first.
The Tigers batted around in a five-run fourth. Rajai Davis tripled in two runs and Kinsler hit an RBI single before Cespedes homered with a man on against Norris.
Jones homered in the bottom half after Nolan Reimold walked. It was Jones' 182nd home run as an Oriole, tied with Ken Singleton for seventh on the franchise list.
Detroit made it 9-2 in the sixth when Cespedes singled in a run and Martinez added an RBI double.
Davis chased Simon with a two-run drive in the Orioles' half. It was his 25th homer of the season and sixth in nine games.
Tigers: Ausmus conceded it won't be easy to win without Price (9-4, 2.53 ERA, 138 strikeouts). "When you lose a pitcher like David Price, you don't generally think you're getting better," he said.
Orioles: Asked if he expected the Orioles to pull off a trade before Friday afternoon, Showalter said, "That's the bet. If you told me to bet on which side of it, I'll take 51-49."
Tigers: RHP Buck Farmer (0-2, 9.22 ERA) seeks his first major league win on Friday night. He has three starts this season — one apiece in May, June and July.
Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-6, 2.88 ERA) makes his 20th start of the season. He leads Baltimore in innings, strikeouts and home runs allowed.