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Polanco's pinch-hit single lifts Tigers past Reds, 1-0

DETROIT (AP) -- Manager Jim Leyland's smart choice for a pinch
hitter paid off in a big way for the Detroit Tigers.

Placido Polanco's pinch-hit single in the eighth inning broke a
scoreless tie and Nate Robertson tossed 7 1/3 innings to help
Detroit beat the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 Sunday.

Placido Polanco's eighth-inning, pinch-hit single drove in the only run of the game as the Tigers defeated the Reds on Sunday at Comerica Park. Only three other current major league players have ever had a pinch-hit RBI in a 1-0 game. Craig Biggio did it in 1997 (Astros at Mets), Bobby Kielty in 2003 (Blue Jays vs. Tigers) and Travis Lee in 2005 (Devil Rays at Indians).

Sunday's game was the Tigers' second 1-0 win of the year at Comerica, their most such wins at home in any season since 1999, when they won a pair of them in their final year at Tiger Stadium. Detroit hasn't treated its home fans to three 1-0 wins in one season since 1973.

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Polanco, the team's regular second baseman, wasn't in the
starting lineup because Leyland rested him after Saturday night's
win. Ramon Santiago started at second and was in Polanco's usual
spot, second in the batting order.

But with runners on first and third with one out in the eighth,
Polanco was sent to the plate.

"I knew he wasn't going to strike out," Leyland said. "If he
hits it on the ground, he could hit into a double play, but so
would most of the of the other guys on the team."

The base hit to right scored Brandon Inge from third. Inge led
off with a walk and moved to third on a sacrifice and a throwing
error by Cincinnati starter Aaron Harang.

"I just tried to stay inside the ball," said Polanco, a
right-handed hitter. "I try to hit the ball to right field a
lot."

Harang said the throwing error, which came on Vance Wilson's
sacrifice bunt, was the key.

"That throw cost me the game," he said. "I tried to backhand
it and it hit my glove and the throw got away."

Robertson struck out seven, walked five and allowed three hits.
Fernando Rodney (3-1) and Todd Jones combined to throw 1 2/3
hitless innings with Jones getting his 13th save in 14
opportunities. Jones set a franchise record with his 155th save
with the Tigers, moving one ahead of Mike Henneman.

Detroit has won nine of its last 10 games and have posted eight
shutout wins this season.

Rodney (3-1) entered with Felipe Lopez on first and one out in
the eighth. Lopez was thrown out attempting to steal second, and
Rodney retired the next batter.

Robertson set down the first nine batters he faced before
walking Ryan Freel to lead off the fourth. After Lopez struck out,
Ken Griffey Jr. got the Reds' first hit of the game when he lined a
ground-rule double into the right-field corner to send Freel to
third. Rich Aurilia then lined to third and Austin Kearns walked to
load the bases. But Robertson got out of the jam by striking out
Adam Dunn on a 3-2 pitch.

The Reds threatened again in the seventh when Dunn led off with
a single and went to third on Edwin Encarnacion's double. But the
next three batters hit grounders to Inge at third.

"We had some chances early where we didn't get guys in,"
Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron said. "You get second and third
with nobody out and hit three straight balls to third base ... that
isn't real good."

Dunn tried to score on the second grounder but Inge threw to
Wilson, the catcher, who tagged out the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Dunn
and deftly stepped out of the way to avoid the brunt of the
contact.

"Brandon made a great throw," Wilson said. "I was just trying
to tag him and get out of the way as soon as possible."

Harang (5-3) pitched eight innings for the third complete game
of his career. He allowed five hits and the lone run, striking out
eight and walking one.

After Chris Shelton's one-out single in the second, Harang
retired the next 15 batters before Magglio Ordonez singled with one
out in the seventh.

Curtis Granderson led off the game with a double against Harang
and moved to third on a sacrifice. But Carlos Guillen popped out
and Ordonez flied out to center to end the inning.

The Tigers also had runners on first and third with two out in
the seventh but Harang struck out Craig Monroe on three pitches.

Game notes
Brandon Phillips played second base for Cincinnati despite
a sore right ankle that he twisted on Saturday. ... Detroit manager
Jim Leyland rested C Ivan Rodriguez after Saturday night's
extra-inning contest. ... Tigers' DH Dmitri Young fanned three
times. ... Lopez had his 14-game hitting streak snapped. He was
0-for-2, with two walks.