Tigers lose Polanco to injury but beat Schilling, BoSox

BOSTON (AP) -- Placido Polanco's injury forced Ivan Rodriguez to
play an unfamiliar position and left the Detroit Tigers wondering
how the loss of their steady second baseman will affect their
playoff run.

"It's very sad, because we are all feeling so good right now,"
Polanco said Tuesday night after separating his shoulder, then
watching Craig Monroe break a ninth-inning tie with a popup single
that gave Detroit a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

Polanco made a diving catch in the seventh to save a potential
tying run, but needed to be walked off the field with a trainer
supporting his left arm. Manager Jim Leyland said Polanco will go
on the disabled list but didn't know when he will return.

Rodriguez said on the Tigers postgame broadcast that Polanco was
out for the year.

"You don't replace a guy like Polanco," Leyland said. "This
is one of those things that has to be digested. I'll talk to the
club about it, but we won't make excuses. We've been fortunate with
injuries this year, but they're part of baseball."

Because Brandon Inge had already been used as a defensive
replacement, Rodriguez had to move from catcher to second base,
with Vance Wilson taking over behind the plate. Rodriguez had never
played second base in 2,256 previous major and minor league games.

"I knew right away," Rodriguez said, adding that he played
second in Little League and third before turning pro. "I've taken
ground balls throughout the season, so if the team needs me, I'm

Detroit led 2-1 with two out in the seventh and a runner on
second when Doug Mirabelli lofted a flare to short center. Polanco
went back and dove for it, catching the ball and trying to break
his fall with both arms.

His teammates motioned frantically for the training staff, and
Leyland ran out to the field with them. Vance Wilson pinch hit for
him to start the eighth, and Rodriguez took over in the field.

"I would rather have him drop the ball so he didn't get hurt,"
Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman said. "He will be missed a lot.
He's a big part of the club."

Detroit squandered a 2-1 lead when David Ortiz tied it in the
eighth with his major league-leading 111th RBI -- his first in six
games. But Mike Timlin (5-2) walked Carlos Guillen leading off the
ninth, then Sean Casey moved him to third with his third hit of the

Monroe popped the ball up down the right-field line, but Wily Mo
Pena let it glance off his glove as he approached the wall, and
first base umpire Bruce Froemming signaled fair. Pena picked the
ball up and caught Monroe off first base, but it was too late to
keep the Tigers from winning their second in a row after coming to
Boston with a five-game losing streak.

The play was scored a single and a 9-3 putout. Even if Pena had
caught it, Guillen could well have scored on a sacrifice fly.

"The ball just hit my glove and fell down," Pena said. "My
mind was on catching the ball and then thinking about throwing to
home plate."

Fernando Rodney (6-3) retired Manny Ramirez -- his only batter --
on a groundout to end the eighth. Todd Jones pitched the ninth for
his 33rd save in 36 tries, dropping the Red Sox three games behind
first-place New York in the AL East.

Timlin went two innings, giving up one run, two hits and a walk.

Bonderman pitched 7 2/3 innings of five-hit ball, and Casey hit
a two-run double in the seventh inning for Detroit, which struggled
to break through against Curt Schilling. The Red Sox ace gave up
two runs and nine hits in seven innings, striking out four -- an
improvement over his previous outing, when he allowed an AL
record-tying 10 extra-base hits to last-place Kansas City.

Game notes
Ramirez failed to reach base for the first time in 34
games. ... Bonderman had been 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA in his three
other starts at Fenway Park. It was the 14th time this year he has
allowed two runs or fewer. ... Froemming is scheduled to be behind
the plate for the 5,000th game of his major league career at Fenway
Park on Wednesday.