<
>

Pudge delivers winning HR for Tigers

DETROIT (AP) -- Ivan Rodriguez gave the Detroit Tigers a second
straight victory in their final at-bat.

Rodriguez hit a game-winning two-run homer with two outs in the
ninth inning off struggling reliever Fausto Carmona to give the
Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday
night.

With Placido Polanco on first, Rodriguez connected on Carmona's
first pitch for his ninth homer.

"I wasn't trying to hit a home run, I just wanted to make good
contact," Rodriguez said. "He threw me a fastball down the middle
and I got all of it."

Carmona (1-7) has blown all three of his save opportunities
since the Indians traded closer Bob Wickman to Atlanta on July 20.
Carmona has allowed 11 runs and eight hits in 2 2/3 innings over
his last four outings.

"We're just going to have to take a look at everything and see
what the best way to go is," said Indians' manager Eric Wedge
about Carmona's immediate future.

It was the second straight game that Detroit won in its last
at-bat. Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning on
Friday night to give Detroit a 7-6 win.

Marcus Thames also homered for the Tigers.

Travis Hafner homered in his fourth straight game for Cleveland
and Casey Blake also hit a home run. Blake left after injuring his
leg in the top of the ninth inning while trying to get back to
second base.

Wedge said there was no word on Blake after the game.

Joel Zumaya (6-1) pitched two hitless innings for the victory.

Kenny Rogers, who hasn't won since July 5, appeared headed for
another early exit as he gave up three runs in the first inning.

Hafner hit a two-run homer with one out by driving Rogers' 1-2
pitch into the right-centerfield stands an estimated 414 feet away.
His 33rd homer also scored Grady Sizemore, who led off with a
double.

With two outs, Blake lined a 3-2 pitch off the foul pole in left
for his 16th homer.

Rogers hit Shin-Soo Choo and walked Andy Marte in the second and
gave up a single to Blake in the third. But he then righted himself
and retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced.

Rogers allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings,
walking two and striking out three.

"I really needed this game to settle down," Rogers said. "I
made adjustments and was able to give us a chance to win."

Indians' starter Paul Byrd kept the Tigers off balance and
consistently worked from ahead in the count. He gave up one earned
run and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out
four.

"We played a good game. We battled hard to the end," said
Byrd. "That's the way things are going."

Polanco's two-out RBI single in the seventh made it 3-2 and
chased Byrd. Jason Davis came on and got out of the inning by
getting Rodriguez to ground into a force out.

Davis also got the first two outs in the eighth inning, but a
single by Craig Monroe and an error by Hector Luna at second on
Sean Casey's grounder put runners on first and third. Pinch runner
Omar Infante then stole second but Thames grounded out.

Thames had homered with one out in the fifth. He connected with
Byrd's 0-2 pitch and sent it into the left-field stands for his
20th of the season.

Game notes
If his throwing session on Sunday goes well, Detroit LHP
Mike Maroth will be sent on a rehabilitation assignment and start
on Wednesday for Triple-A Toledo, according to pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. Maroth is on the 60-day DL after undergoing surgery on
his left elbow. ... Hafner matched his career high with his 33rd
homer. ... Tigers' RF and cleanup hitter Magglio Ordonez didn't
start because, "He hasn't had much success against Byrd
(4-for-29)and his leg was barking a little bit," manager Jim
Leyland said. ... Thames' home run was his first since July 16.