LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jim Leyland is back in uniform after a six-year hiatus and the two-time manager of the year has given the Detroit Tigers a new direction after 12 consecutive losing seasons.
Tuesday night's 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels improved the Tigers' record to 13-8, their highest win total in April since 1993.Magglio Ordonez was 3-for-4 with a home run and Jeremy Bonderman allowed three hits over six innings, helping improve the Tigers' road record to a major league-best 11-3."The atmosphere here has changed a lot. I mean, I liked Tram. He was a great guy," third baseman Brandon Inge said referring to former manager Alan Trammell. "But Leyland's a guy who's going to put his foot down and say,
'It's going to be my way or the highway.' And that's what we needed. And whether you have 15 years in the big leagues or one day, he's going to treat everyone exactly the same -- which is what a good manager does."Leyland has come full circle, guiding the team that originally signed him as a minor league catcher in September 1963. He managed for 11 years in the Tigers' organization at the minor league level before taking the Pittsburgh job in 1986. The Pirates won three consecutive division championships for Leyland, who reeled in a World Series title with the Florida Marlins in 1997."I haven't changed a lot," said Leyland, 61, who spent six seasons as a scout with the St. Louis Cardinals. "I always missed the competition, but a lot of it is the fact that you love the game
and you'd like to be involved in it."The biggest thing was working for the Cardinals. They really made a big impression on me -- just being around them the last few years in the clubhouse and seeing how they went about their business, how competitive they were and how they did everything right. I missed all of that, so I thought I'd like to give it one more shot. And I'm really enjoying it."Bonderman (2-2) limited the two-time defending AL West champs to two sixth-inning runs after being staked to a 5-0 lead. The right-hander struck out six and walked one while helping lower Detroit's league-leading ERA to 3.58."We've got to pitch well to keep the team in the game, and lately we've been doing that," Bonderman said. "I've had a tendency to give up runs early in the game, but if I can get away from that, I'm usually all right. They're a good hitting team, so you've just got to keep the ball down."Todd Jones, the fourth Detroit pitcher, worked a perfect ninth for his third save in three attempts since coming off the disabled list.The Angels had three baserunners over the first five innings -- one on a throwing error by second baseman Placido Polanco trying for a force on Casey Kotchman's grounder toward the middle.A two-out single in the second by Darin Erstad was the only hit
Bonderman allowed until the sixth. Orlando Cabrera followed an
infield hit by Chone Figgins with an RBI double, then stole third
with a huge jump against Bonderman and scored on Garret Anderson's
groundout."We sure don't get too many good looks at Bonderman," Angels
manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got a great arm and he's pitched
like this against us on several occasions. He's got great movement
and he throws that ball hard, so sometimes it's tough to stay back
on him. He's just one of those bright young arms that they have
over there."Hector Carrasco (0-1) was charged with five runs and seven hits
over five-plus innings in his second start filling in for reigning
Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon, who is on the disabled list because
of inflammation in his right shoulder. Last Thursday, Carrasco gave
up three runs and four hits over three-plus innings in the Angels'
6-4 win at Minnesota.Inge opened the scoring in the third inning with an RBI triple
high off the 18-foot wall in right. Polanco drove him in one out
later with a groundout.Ordonez led off the fourth with a drive to left-center, his
fourth homer. The four-time All-Star averaged 32 home runs during a
five-year span with the Chicago White Sox, but was limited to 17
homers in 134 games over the last two seasons because of injuries.
Only five times in the Tigers' first 21 games has someone
tried to steal a base against them, the fewest attempts against one
team in the majors. ... Figgins was 0-for-13 lifetime against
Bonderman before his sixth-inning hit. ... Mike Maroth, a 21-game
loser in 2003, will start Wednesday and attempt to become the first
Detroit pitcher to start a season 4-0 since David Wells in 1993.