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Maroth pitches eight innings despite death in family

9/16/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- Mike Maroth never let on that he was pitching in
pain.

After finding out in the afternoon that his grandmother had died
during the morning, he pitched eight strong innings Monday night to
lead the Detroit Tigers over Kansas City 5-2.

Maroth will fly to Orlando, Fla., Tuesday and return to the
team Thursday.

''This is really the first death in the family that I've ever
had to deal with, so it is tough,'' Maroth said. ''I didn't think
about it while I was pitching, but I thought about her a lot
between innings.''

Maroth only told team president Dave Dombrowski, because he
didn't want manager Luis Pujols to be worried.

''I just wanted to go out and pitch and let my performance make
the decision,'' Maroth said. ''I didn't want him to take her death
into consideration when he was watching me pitch.''

Said Pujols: ''I have a lot of respect for that young man. That
had to have been hard, but he pitched a great game.''

The Tigers won for only the fifth time in 25 games. The Royals,
who are 3-11 this month, lead Detroit by four games in the race to
avoid last place in the American League Central.

Maroth (6-8) snapped a three-start losing streak, giving up two
runs and six hits in eight innings. The rookie walked one and
struck out four.

''He did a great job out there,'' Pujols said of his rookie
starter. ''He struggled a little in one inning, and then he found
himself again. He's had some bad games, but he's had more good
ones. That's encouraging.''

Franklyn German pitched one scoreless inning for his first
career save.

''It felt awesome to get my first major league save,'' he said.
''And it was nice to do it on a day where my friend Carlos Pena hit
a big homer.''

Darrell May (4-10) allowed three runs and six hits in six
innings. He is 1-2 in four starts since rejoining the Royals'
rotation in late August.

Pena hit his 19th home run in the first inning, a three-run
shot. Hiram Bocachica led off with a single, Robert Fick singled
with one out and Pena followed with a drive over the scoreboard in
right-center field.

''Two pitches killed me in that inning,'' May said. ''The pitch
to Fick and the homer. I threw Pena a fastball right down the
middle -- it was like a batting-practice pitch.''

Detroit has struggled holding a lead all season, so Pujols
wasn't sure if he should be happy with Pena.

''I was scared that we scored too early,'' he said. ''We aren't
good with an early lead.''

Kansas City got two runs back in the third, but could have had
more.

Neifi Perez and A.J. Hinch led off with singles, and Angel
Berroa made it 3-1 with a double to deep left. After Carlos Beltran
popped out, Mike Sweeney lifted a fly ball to medium-deep right
field. Hinch scored easily, but Fick threw out Berroa at third,
ending the inning.

''Any time that you run the bases, especially when you are going
from one base to the next, you have to think about sliding,'' said
Kansas City manager Tony Pena.

Damian Jackson hit a two-run single in the eighth for the
Tigers.

Game notes
Fick's assist was his major league-leading 19th of the
year. He also leads the majors with 12 outfield errors. ...
Detroit's Shane Halter snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a sixth-inning
single. ... The Royals have to win eight of their final 12 games to
avoid tying the team record of 97 defeats. ... May has allowed three
runs on six hits in six innings in each of his last two starts. ...
Dave Winfield did the daily video tribute to retiring Tigers
announcer Ernie Harwell. ... The game drew just 10,469 fans,
second-lowest in the third-year history of Comerica Park. The
Tigers and Royals drew just 9,643 on April 29.