PHOENIX (AP) -- Ivan Rodriguez keeps getting timely hits, and
Detroit's budding stars seem to be learning from him.
Rodriguez tied the game in the sixth inning with a run-scoring
single, and Omar Infante doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the
seventh to lead the Tigers over the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1
Infante and pinch-hitter Chris Shelton, who got the RBI single
that made it 2-1, are in their second full season in the majors.
"We were able to get the big inning when we needed to,"
Shelton said. "When it was time to come up with some hits and
score some runs, we were able to do it."
Placido Polanco had three hits, including an RBI single in the
Tigers' four-run seventh.
Sean Douglass (1-0) gave up four hits, including a home run by
Jose Cruz Jr., in six innings in his season debut to earn his first
victory since Sept. 27, 2001, for Baltimore against Boston.
"I was a little nervous," he said. "I could feel myself
squeezing the ball. But after you get the first out, you relax. The
nerves weren't as bad as they were the first hitter."
Douglass played with the Orioles from 2001-03 and with Toronto
last year, before signing with the Tigers as a minor league free
agent on Nov. 9.
Rodriguez, an 11-time All-Star behind the plate, had the
solution whenever Douglass got antsy.
"Just stay relaxed and throw strikes and get the ball down,"
Rodriguez said. "That's what I told him."
Javier Vazquez (7-6), who beat the Tigers 1-0 with a five-hitter
in Detroit on May 22, allowed five runs on 10 hits and a walk in 6
"I felt good," Vazquez said. "I was making the pitches, but
they were getting through."
He was holding another 1-0 lead until the sixth inning, when
Polanco and Dmitri Young opened with singles. Polanco advanced to
third when White grounded into a double play, and scored easily on
Rodriguez's single up the middle.
Infante led off the seventh with Detroit's first extra-base hit
in two nights, and scored on Shelton's single. Inge made it 3-1
with a one-hop triple into the gap and scored on Polanco's single
that ended Vazquez's outing.
Polanco reached second on a passed ball by catcher Chris Snyder,
and scored easily on White's single to make it 5-1.
"He pitched well," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said about
Vazquez. "We just got in a situation where we couldn't give up any
more runs. We got the infield in, they get some ground balls and
they sneak through."
The Tigers had just one baserunner in each of the first four
innings, and Vazquez pitched a 1-2-3 fifth.
Douglass was less consistent early but almost as efficient.
After Cruz drove a pitch into the right-field seats leading off the
second, Douglass retired six straight.
He then walked Troy Glaus for the second time and gave up a
single to Chad Tracy with nobody out in the fourth. However, Cruz
bounced into a double play, and Quinton McCracken grounded out to
end the inning.
"It's nice to get your starters a win," manager Alan Trammell
said. "Especially his first one. He pitched well, and I was like,
'Here we go again, not scoring any runs.' But we did."
McCracken, a late replacement for Luis Gonzalez making his
first start in LF, robbed Rondell White of an extra-base hit with a
diving catch in the fourth inning. Gonzalez went on bereavement
leave because of a death in the family. ... Douglass had a 9-1
record in 14 starts with Triple-A Toledo before his call-up
Tuesday. His major league record is 3-8, ending a seven-game losing
streak that included an 0-2 record with the Blue Jays.