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