Tigers finally look like Tigers

Friday, September 15th 2006, 5:43 am
By: News On 6

Runs were tough to come by for the Detroit Tigers as their AL Central lead dwindled to one game.

That changed big time in one inning Friday night and their lead in the division doubled.

Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer in an eight-run fourth inning and Brandon Inge had a grand slam in the sixth in a 17-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

The host Tigers had 19 hits in scoring more runs than they totaled in their previous six games combined.

Detroit had lost 17 of its last 25 games as the division lead, which was 10 games starting play on Aug. 8, was sliced to just one. But Minnesota lost 5-4 to Cleveland in 10 innings on Friday, and there was just a little more breathing room for the Tigers.

``This is important for this ballclub,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ``It was nice to see the offense break out.''

Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey both had two hits in the fourth inning, and Guillen scored twice.

``This was a fun day,'' said Craig Monroe, who homered and scored three runs. ``This proves that the bats haven't gone anywhere. This season is a grind, and everyone is going to have a slump.''

In other AL games on Friday, it was: Oakland 4, Chicago 2; Los Angeles 2, Texas 1 in 11 innings; Toronto 5, Tampa Bay 4 in 10 innings; and Seattle 11, Kansas City 8.

Boston at New York was rained out.

Jeremy Bonderman (12-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out seven for the Tigers. He was 0-4 in nine starts since July 24.

``I felt really comfortable out there for the first time in a while,'' Bonderman said. ``Even in the bullpen before the game, I felt like I was really driving to the plate.''

Baltimore allowed its most runs since an 18-5 defeat to the New York Yankees on May 27, 2004, and lost for the 13th time in 17 games.

Hayden Penn (0-3) was hit hard for the third straight start, allowing seven runs, seven hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings. His ERA dropped from 36.82 to 27.00 in his longest outing of the season. Penn has started three times since Sept. 3 _ once each against division leaders Oakland, New York and Detroit _ and allowed 22 runs and 24 hits in 7 1-3 innings.

``I felt good,'' Penn said. ``I just think I get a little out of my mind-set and start trying to make perfect pitches instead of good pitches. I'm still very confident on the mound. I still think I belong here.''

Detroit broke open the game in the fourth. Marcus Thames hit an RBI groundout, Curtis Granderson drove in a run with a single, Ivan Rodriguez hit a run-scoring double and Monroe had an RBI single, with another run scoring on an error.

``Hayden kept us in the ballgame for three innings _ he threw a bit better,'' Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. ``In the fourth, he just disintegrated. It turned fast. I think it's obvious that he's better than this.''

Russ Ortiz relieved and gave up Ordonez's homer, which made it 8-0, and Casey hit an RBI double.

Indians 5, Twins 4, 10 innings

The winning run scored on rookie Ryan Garko's potential double-play bouncer with one out and the bases loaded.

The visiting Twins tied it with a two-run ninth, a rally that kept starter Johan Santana unbeaten since July 9. Joe Mauer's RBI groundout and Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly made it 4-4.

Franklin Gutierrez opened the 10th against Pat Neshek (4-2) with a double. After an out and two intentional walks that sandwiched a wild pitch, Garko, who homered in the first, hit a hard hopper toward center that was backhanded by second baseman Luis Castillo, who flipped to Jason Bartlett for the force. Bartlett's throw to first was off the bag, and Gutierrez scored.

Fernando Cabrera (3-2) pitched one inning for the Indians, who improved to 22-13 since Aug. 9.

Athletics 4, White Sox 2

At Oakland, Calif., Marco Scutaro had a career-high four hits and Esteban Loaiza allowed three hits over seven innings as the Athletics maintained their five-game lead over Los Angeles in the AL West.

Loaiza (10-8) retired 16 of Chicago's first 17 batters, yielding only Rob Mackowiak's solo homer in the third, and escaped his only jam in the sixth with just one run allowed. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.

Jon Garland (17-5) allowed nine hits and three runs in 5 2-3 innings for Chicago _ his shortest start since July 29.

Angels 2, Rangers 1, 11 innings

Vladimir Guerrero homered leading off the 11th inning, his 29th of the season and 100th in his three years with the Angels. It was the only hit Frank Francisco (0-1) allowed in his one inning.

Brendan Donnelly (5-0), returning from a four-game suspension, pitched two perfect innings for the victory.

Adam Kennedy went 3-for-4 for the visiting Angels and broke up a scoreless game with a ninth-inning RBI single off reliever Akinori Otsuka. The Rangers tied it in the bottom half on Hank Blalock's RBI double off Francisco Rodriguez, the major league saves leader with 42. It was Rodriguez's fourth blown save.

Blue Jays 5, Devil Rays 4, 10 innings

At Toronto, Aaron Hill capped a 4-for-4 night with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th.

The Blue Jays rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the ninth and the 4-3 deficit in the 10th. Gregg Zaun led off the 10th with a single and Hill followed with his homer off Brian Meadows (3-6).

The Devil Rays had taken a 4-3 lead in the 10th on a wild pitch by B.J. Ryan (2-2).

Mariners 11, Royals 8

Adrian Beltre had three hits and five RBIs for Seattle, which rallied from a six-run deficit.

Beltre started the comeback with a two-run single in the third. He added an RBI double in the fifth and tied it at 7 with a two-run homer in the seventh off Ryan Braun (0-1). Richie Sexson hit a go-ahead double later in the inning off Ambiorix Burgos.

Ryan Shealy hit his first career grand slam as the host Royals took a 6-0 lead after two innings.