Rogers roasts A's for 11th win; Tigers avoid sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jim Leyland's players were singing and smiling again around the clubhouse tables, exhibiting the kind of exuberance that comes with knowing you are accomplishing something special.

Success has been hard to come by for the Tigers organization in recent years, so why not enjoy? Even if it is just early July.

All-Star Kenny Rogers won his seventh straight decision against his former club and Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer, leading Detroit over the Oakland Athletics 10-4 on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.

"We definitely have some pieces to the puzzle that allow us to go out and be a playoff-contending team," Monroe said.

Brandon Inge added a solo homer for the Tigers, who have the best record in baseball but had lost three of four following a seven-game winning streak. They have been swept only once this season, April 10-13 by the World Series champion Chicago White Sox.

"It's a big win," All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez said. "Every win is important. Oakland played great for two games, then we came back and scored runs early. We're fine, we're OK, we're in good shape."

Rodriguez doubled twice among his three hits and scored twice. Carlos Guillen also scored twice, and Chris Shelton hit a two-run single in the second inning to stake Rogers (11-3) to a quick lead.

Rogers, headed to his third straight All-Star Game next week in Pittsburgh, posted his fourth win in a row overall despite not having his best stuff. He gave up four earned runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out four and walked two.

"He wasn't at his best today but he was good enough," said Leyland, Detroit's first-year manager.

The left-hander is 25-4 in 56 games in Oakland -- including 23-1 in 41 starts at the Coliseum since 1995. He pitched for the A's in 1998-99. He leads all active pitchers with 21 victories against the A's.

Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco saved a run with a great leaping stop on a high liner by Jay Payton in the fifth that turned into an inning-ending double play.

"He's always good against us," Oakland's Mark Kotsay said of Rogers. "We put some balls in play hard against him and had some chances. Payton's line drive would have given us another run. That just killed us. But we won a series against a team 29 games over .500."

Payton, who hurt Detroit in the first two games -- hitting a three-run homer Monday night and driving in two runs including the winning single in the 10th inning of Oakland's 2-1 win Tuesday -- went 0-for-4.

At 41, Rogers is being considered by White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen to be the AL starter in the All-Star Game.

"I'm sure they've got a lot better guys to choose from than me," Rogers said. "I'm glad I don't have to make that decision. I'm just excited to be part of it."

Roman Colon pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for his first career save.

Detroit finishes a nine-game road trip this weekend against the Mariners in Seattle.

Marco Scutaro hit a two-run homer for the A's. Bobby Kielty
homered, doubled and scored two runs and Kotsay added an RBI double.

Rogers allowed Kielty's leadoff single in the second and then retired the next eight batters before Kielty doubled in the fourth.

Kirk Saarloos (3-5), coming off consecutive no-decisions, lasted only 4 1/3 innings after getting tagged for nine hits and eight runs.

"That was a very un-Saarloos-like start," A's manager Ken Macha said. "He was up in the zone and in the middle of the plate. Kirk didn't have the same command he's had."

Monroe hit his 12th home run of the year in the third and then Inge connected the next inning for his 17th.

The teams play three games in Detroit later this month. The A's have won the last five season series and are 31-13 against Detroit since 2001. The Tigers took two of three from the A's in Oakland in April.

Game notes
Guillen extended his hitting streak to nine games and also stole his 12th base in the third. ... Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez got the day off. He still has a sore left leg from fouling a ball off it. ... Outfielder Nick Swisher was a late scratch for the A's because of food poisoning after also sitting out Tuesday with the flu. ... A's DH Frank Thomas, who drew his 1,500th and 1,501st walks Tuesday, walked again Wednesday. He now needs five more to tie Mike Schmidt for 15th on the all-time and six more to tie Lou Gehrig for 14th. ... Rogers is three victories from equaling his 14-game win total from 2005. He hasn't lost in Oakland since Sept. 16, 2004. ... A's third baseman Eric Chavez had the day off to rest his sore forearms, which have been bothering him for weeks. He is expected to play Thursday in the opener of a four-game set with the Los Angeles Angels.