Series: Game 1 of 3

Detroit leads 1-0 (as of 5/16)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 16
Game 2: Wednesday, May 17
Game 3: Thursday, May 18

Twins 4

(17-22, 5-14 away)

Tigers 7

(25-13, 9-6 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 16, 2006

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 012000100 4 10 0
    DET 00520000 - 7 10 1

    W: N. Robertson (4-2)

    L: K. Lohse (2-4)

    S: T. Jones (10)

    Shelton's three-run double sparks Tigers' fifth straight win

    DETROIT (AP) -- Brandon Inge isn't going to give Jim Leyland all of the credit for the Detroit Tigers' surprising rise to first place.

    Just most of it.

    Detroit's 7-4 win over Minnesota on Tuesday night, combined with Chicago's loss to Tampa Bay, lifted the Tigers into a first-place tie with the White Sox in the American League Central. The Tigers, who have won five straight, have not been in first place this late in the season since 1993.

    "A lot of us were on that team that lost 119 games in 2003, and we fought hard to keep it to that many," Inge said. "We used to dream about getting to .500, and now we're looking at first place. This is an incredible turnaround."

    Detroit has won five straight four times in Leyland's six-week tenure. No other Tigers manager since Sparky Anderson has had more than three such streaks in their entire tenure.

    "Obviously, he's been blessed with great players," Inge joked.

    Leyland, though, wasn't getting excited about moving into first.

    "It means absolutely nothing," he said. "If we're in first place after the last game of the season, that will be big."

    The Tigers are 4-0 at home against Minnesota this season, outscoring the Twins 40-5.

    "I wish I could say this game was different, but we've seen too many of these," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We scored some runs, but we gave them right back. That's a backbreaker."

    Nate Robertson (4-2) limited Minnesota to three runs and seven hits in five innings, improving to 3-0 in his last five starts.

    "The offense picked Nate up, and the bullpen did a great job," Leyland said. "That's what is supposed to happen."

    Todd Jones, the fourth Tigers reliever, got the last three outs for his 10th save in 11 tries.

    Kyle Lohse (2-4) gave up five runs and six hits in 2 2-3 innings. He is 0-3 against the Tigers with a 13.14 ERA in three starts this year.

    "We're just not pitching well out of the rotation," said Gardenhire, whose starters are 13-21 with a 6.64 ERA this season. "Our starters are struggling."

    Lohse left the clubhouse abruptly after the game, to the displeasure of pitching coach Rick Anderson.

    "The pitcher is supposed to stay in here, and he didn't," Anderson said. "It's frustrating to everyone the way we've been pitching. He was doing the right things in the first two innings, but all of a sudden, he gives up a couple hits and he starts overthrowing and getting away from that."

    Minnesota took a 3-0 lead on Rondell White's RBI single in the second, and Torii Hunter's run-scoring single and Michael Cuddyer's sacrifice fly in the third.

    However, Lohse couldn't get out of the bottom of the third. After singles by Craig Monroe and Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco and Ivan Rodriguez made it 3-2 with back-to-back base hits.

    Magglio Ordonez flied out, but Carlos Guillen walked to load the bases before Shelton's drive to right-center field glanced off Cuddyer's glove for a bases-clearing double.

    The Tigers made it 7-3 in the fourth on a RBI single by Rodriguez and a bases-loaded walk to Guillen.

    The Twins scored a single run in the seventh when Joel Zumaya walked Justin Morneau with the bases loaded, but Polanco snared White's liner and stepped on second for an inning-ending unassisted double play.

    "They've got a good team over there," said White, who played the last two seasons with Detroit. "We've been playing well, but they've been swinging the bat well and things went their way."

    Game notes

    Alan Trammell and Phil Garner each had three five-game winning streaks as Tigers manager, while Luis Pujols had two and Buddy Bell and Larry Parrish both had one. ... 3B Tony Batista beat out an infield single in the sixth inning and continued running down the line for at least another 100 feet before finally coming to a stop in deep right field. ... Guillen had more walks in a two-inning span (2) than double-play partner Polanco has all season (1). ... Hunter narrowly escaped injury in the seventh when Zumaya's 98 mph fastball missed his jaw by a few inches. ... DH Dmitri Young (quad) was in the lineup for the first time since May 10, but went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press