CLEVELAND (AP) -- The losing streak is behind them and the
Detroit Tigers' bullpen problems could soon be in the past, too.
Mike Maroth made just two bad pitches in six innings and
Detroit's trio of relievers made a one-run lead stand up as the
Tigers won their fourth straight, 3-2 over the Indians on Thursday
The Tigers have won seven of 10, erasing an early five-game
slide that had them wondering if another promising season would end
up like so many others.
"We're 10-10," manager Alan Trammell said. "That's great, but
please don't stop. Now I want us to get over .500 and have a little
room to play with. I'm enjoying it but I want us to be a lot
Maroth (2-1) gave up solo homers to Casey Blake and Jhonny
Peralta in the fifth inning, but the left-hander had few other
issues with the majors' worst hitting team. Maroth walked one and
tied a career high with eight strikeouts.
The Tigers scored three runs in the first off Kevin Millwood
(0-3), who settled down after the rough start, retiring the final
14. However, he didn't get enough run support -- a recurring theme
so far this season for Cleveland.
Millwood allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings.
The Indians, who came in batting a combined .227, didn't
generate much off Maroth and dropped to 1-7 against lefties.
"It's frustrating, but you can't get mad," Millwood said.
"The guys are trying to score, they're in the cage taking extra
batting practice. I know with the offense we have, we'll score some
runs sooner or later."
Maroth's only mistakes were hanging a 3-2 breaking ball to Blake
and a 1-0 fastball he grooved to Peralta.
Cleveland couldn't score against relievers Kyle Farnsworth,
Ugueth Urbina or Troy Percival, either. The trio allowed three hits
over the final three innings with Percival working the ninth for
his second save this season and the 318th overall, tying him with
Rick Aguilera for 11th on the career list.
It was the first time this season that the
Farnsworth-Urbina-Percival combination has worked flawlessly.
Percival got some help in the ninth when first baseman Carlos Pena
scooped a throw in the dirt to nip Blake by a step.
"He stuck his nose in the middle of a tough play," Percival
said. "That's not easy when you've got a 6-foot-2, 200-pound guy
running at you at full speed."
"That's the way Tramm wants it," said Maroth, 4-0 with a 2.38
ERA in his last five starts against Cleveland. "It's not going to
be the only time it works that way."
Meanwhile, the Indians' early season hitting funk got funkier.
Third baseman Aaron Boone went 0-for-4, struck out three times
and left a runner in scoring position three times. Boone, who
missed all of last season after undergoing knee surgery, is batting
"I felt relaxed, believe it or not to have chances to drive in
runs in a one-run game," Boone said. "It's frustrating but you
have to keep battling."
Millwood was unlucky but mostly responsible for the Tigers
taking a 3-0 lead in the first.
Brandon Inge opened with a sinking single to center that skipped
past Coco Crisp, who lost his footing as he tried to slow down
after charging the ball, for a standup triple. Ivan Rodriguez
followed with an RBI single and Millwood walked Carlos Guillen
before Rondell White beat out an infield single.
He coasted through the first four innings, allowing just two
hits before Blake led off the fifth with his third homer. One out
later, Peralta connected for his first, lining a shot into the
Of Cleveland's 23 homers, 18 have been solo shots and accounted
for the Indians' last seven runs in four games.
Following the game, the Tigers recalled INF Ramon Martinez
from Triple-A Toledo. He had been sidelined with a sprained left
thumb. RHP Andrew Good was sent back to the Mud Hens. ... Maroth
also struck out eight on Sept. 1 last season against Kansas City.
... Indians LHP Arthur Rhodes made his 500th career relief
appearance. ... The Indians are 24-46 in April the past three