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Knotts allows one run in first start

5/14/2004

DETROIT (AP) -- Gary Knotts surprised the tigers with a dominant
outing.

Knotts did not allow a hit until the fifth inning in his first
start of the season Friday night, and Brandon Inge and Omar Infante
hit consecutive homers in the second for Detroit in 7-1 win over
the Texas Rangers.

"My gosh, it was more than I was expecting, just the fact he
hasn't started in such a long time," Detroit manager Alan Trammell
said. "I don't know when the last time was (Sept. 27). He's
pitched, I believe, 63 pitches the most, he was right around 70
today (67) and was outstanding."

Knotts (1-0) retired the first eight batters he faced before
hitting Rod Barajas with a pitch with two outs in the third. He
gave up a double to Mark Teixeira leading off the fifth and was
pulled after Michael Young tripled to start the sixth.

"I was lucky that tonight I had a majority of right-handed
hitters," the right-handed Knotts said. "For me, with my pitch
selection, I probably would rather face right-handed hitters. They
only had two lefties and a switch-hitter in the lineup so that's
usually an advantage for me."

Esteban Yan relieved after Young's hit and struck out Hank
Blalock, Alfonso Soriano and Brad Fullmer. Yan didn't allow a hit
in four innings for his second save.

"We'd have liked to get back with the game 3-2 there," Texas
manager Buck Showalter said. "But you've got to tip your hat to
him. He made some great pitches."

Knotts allowed a run in five-plus innings, while striking out
five and walking one.

"You've got to give Knotts credit. He got ahead all night,"
Brian Jordan said. "And when a pitcher gets ahead of you, you have
to hit his pitch."

Texas starter Joaquin Benoit (1-1) allowed five runs and six
hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Detroit took the early lead on Rondell White's RBI single to
center with two outs in the first. It scored Bobby Higginson, who
doubled and advanced to third on a line out to right.

The Tigers made it 3-0 in the second on the home runs by Inge
and Infante with two outs. Inge drove a 2-0 pitch just inside the
left-field foul pole and Infante then sent an 0-1 delivery to left
for his first homer since Sept. 10, 2002.

"A couple of bad pitches and he paid for it," Showalter said.

The Rangers scored in the fifth when Teixeira doubled, advanced
on a sacrifice by Eric Young and scored on Kevin Mench's fielder's
choice.

Detroit stretched its lead to 5-1 on Ivan Rodriguez's two-run
homer in the sixth. It was his seventh homer and gave him 32 RBI
this season.

"It was a fastball cutter," Rodriguez said.

Craig Monroe added an RBI single and another run scored on a
balk by reliever Franklin Francisco in the eighth.

Third base umpire Randy Marsh left the game in the bottom of the
first inning with a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. The game
continued with three umpires, two on the bases.

Game notes
Texas OF Laynce Nix was scratched from the starting lineup
because of a sore neck. ... Rangers reliever Jeff Nelson underwent
surgery on his knee and elbow on Friday. Manager Buck Showalter
said his earliest return would be in August. ... Rangers reliever
Franklin Francisco made his major league debut. ... Rodriguez has
driven in at least a run in nine of his 11 games in May.