Tigers' Rogers Remains Unbeaten

Thursday, July 5th 2007, 7:13 am
By: News On 6

Kenny Rogers gave up an extra-base hit and thought the Detroit Tigers' luck was about to change for the better. The 42-year-old left-hander needed that lucky bounce and some stellar defense from his teammates to remain unbeaten since returning from shoulder surgery. He gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings Wednesday night in a 6-4 victory over Cleveland that snapped the Indians' six-game winning streak.

Cleveland was trailing 2-1 when Travis Hafner walked with one out in the third. Jason Michaels followed with a slicing liner into the left-field corner, but Marcus Thames made a diving catch, the first of the defensive gems by the Tigers.

Ryan Garko then hit a ball to deep right-center that would have easily scored Hafner, but the ball bounced over the 11 1/2-foot fence for a ground-rule double. Hafner was stopped at third and Rogers showed his relief with one of the fist-pumps that he displayed often last postseason in the Tigers' run to the World Series. He then retired Franklin Gutierrez to end the inning.

``That was huge _ that changed the whole momentum,'' Rogers said. ``It saved me at least one run and it gave me a chance to eliminate any damage. When that happened, I figured it was our turn to get some breaks.''

Detroit scored three runs in the fourth to go up 5-1 and Rogers (3-0), even though he didn't have his best stuff, lowered his ERA to 1.04 since coming off the disabled list June 22.

``That wasn't vintage Kenny out there, but it was good enough,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

In other AL games Wednesday, it was: Boston 7, Tampa Bay 5; Minnesota 6, New York 2; Toronto 10, Oakland 3; Baltimore 9, Chicago 6; Seattle 4, Kansas City 0; and Texas 4, Los Angeles 2.

Rogers and four relievers got plenty of help from their defense with Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen and Thames all making run-saving plays.

``We made plays, and that's what you have to do,'' Leyland said. ``You have to do enough little things to win games.''

Hafner brought the Indians within 5-4 with a two-run homer off Macay McBride in the seventh, but Guillen and Rodriguez hit consecutive triples to restore the two-run lead in the bottom of the inning.

The Indians put two runners on in the eighth, but Inge bailed out Zach Miner with a barehanded pickup-and-throw of Jhonny Peralta's slow roller past the mound.

``He has to be the best defensive third baseman in the league, because he makes those plays all the time,'' Miner said. ``I thought that was definitely a hit, especially since Peralta runs pretty well, but he just swooped in, barehanded it and threw him out.''

Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 21st save and 200th as a Tiger.

``It just wasn't our night,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ``We couldn't catch a break, they played superior defense, and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities we got.''

Jake Westbrook (1-4) gave up five runs and 10 hits in six innings.

``I felt good out there _ I made decent pitches,'' he said. ``I'm just a little frustrated at all the two-out hits I gave up. I couldn't make the big pitches when I needed them, and that cost us the game.''

Red Sox 7, Devil Rays 5

Mike Lowell homered, J.D. Drew had two doubles and Tim Wakefield (9-8) gave up four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings for his fourth win in five starts as the Devil Rays lost their 10th straight.

Carl Crawford had three hits, including a two-run double, for visiting Tampa Bay and Edwin Jackson (1-9) allowed seven runs and nine hits in five innings.

Twins 6, Yankees 2

Johan Santana gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings to win his fourth straight start and Jason Kubel hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh for Minnesota, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Santana (10-6) hasn't lost since June 9.

Hideki Matsui hit his ninth homer for New York, which lost for the fourth time in 15 home games. Mike Mussina (4-6) allowed three earned runs and five hits in six-plus innings.

Blue Jays 10, Athletics 3

Matt Stairs homered and drove in four runs and Dustin McGowan pitched seven scoreless innings as the Blue Jays wrapped up a 4-6 road trip. McGowan (5-4) got all the support he needed in the first inning when Stairs hit a two-run double and the Blue Jays took advantage of four walks to chase Joe Kennedy (2-7) with four runs.

Jack Cust had a two-run double for the Athletics, who have lost nine of 13.

Orioles 9, White Sox 6

Jay Gibbons homered and Kevin Millar hit two doubles for Baltimore. Reliever Rob Bell (2-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the win.

Rob Mackowiak hit a three-run homer and Josh Fields added a solo shot for the White Sox, who have lost 14 of their last 19 home games.

Mariners 4, Royals 0

Jarrod Washburn pitched into the ninth inning, scattering five hits, and John McLaren got his first win as Seattle's manager in his third game since taking over for Mike Hargrove.

Washburn (8-6) yielded a single and a walk to start the ninth before giving way to J.J. Putz, who got a groundout and a double play for his 24th save. Adrian Beltre and Jose Guillen each had three hits and drove in two runs for visiting Seattle.

Brian Bannister (5-5) of the Royals gave up four hits and four runs in the first then threw six shutout innings.

Rangers 4, Angels 2

Jamey Wright (2-2) allowed two runs over six innings and Marlon Byrd drove in the tiebreaking run with a sixth-inning single, the last of his three hits. Eric Gagne retired all three batters in the ninth for his 11th save.

Jered Weaver (6-5) gave up three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings for the visiting Angels, who have lost six of eight.