Series: Game 1 of 2

Detroit leads 1-0 (as of 4/14)

Game 1: Monday, April 14
Game 2: Tuesday, April 15

Twins 9

(6-7, 3-3 away)

Tigers 11

(3-10, 1-6 home)

    7:05 PM ET, April 14, 2008

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 020003400 9 13 1
    DET 00000416 - 11 16 3

    W: F. Beltran (1-0)

    L: P. Neshek (0-1)

    S: T. Jones (2)

    Pudge helps Tigers rally past Twins for first home win

    DETROIT (AP) -- Finally, the Detroit Tigers lived up to the hype at the plate.

    Ivan Rodriguez hit a tying two-run triple in a six-run eighth inning then scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to lift the high-priced Tigers to an 11-9 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night for their first win at home.

    "That's what everybody expected from this lineup," said Carlos Guillen, who drove in three of Detroit's 10 runs in the sixth and eighth innings. "But we have to be more consistent because it's a long season."

    The Tigers, whose payroll is nearly $139 million and trails only the New York Yankees, won for the first time in seven games at home and improved to 3-10 overall.

    They scored a season-high in runs and had a season-high 16 hits.

    "You saw a little of what the Tigers can do when you don't make pitches," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We couldn't stop them."

    Detroit still has the worst record in baseball, but that didn't stunt its feel-good night.

    Rodriguez pumped his right fist and screamed with joy when he hit his clutch triple and clenched his throwing hand again as he slid home just ahead of the tag on Jacque Jones' liner to left.

    The Tigers sold 32,000 tickets on the crisp, cool night and many fans booed early and often as errors and weak at-bats helped Minnesota take a 9-4 lead after hitting in the seventh.

    But for the several thousand supporters that stuck around, they had a chance to cheer wildly as Detroit won for the first time after trailing following the sixth, seventh or eighth inning.

    Justin Morneau -- one of four Twins to drive in two runs -- hit a two-run single to help the Twins score four in the seventh to take a five-run lead.

    It wasn't enough.

    Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the home half off right fielder Denard Span's glove.

    In the eighth, Magglio Ordonez hit an RBI double and Guillen had an RBI single before Rodriguez hit his two-run triple.

    "The most glaring point of the game was the fact that a club was 2-10, gets within one then gives up four and battles like they did," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I think that says a lot about this team.

    "Is this one game? Yeah. Does it mean we're going to win tomorrow? No. But they could've packed it in," he added.

    The Tigers were a popular pick to win their first title since 1984, but they have history working against them.

    No team that started 2-10 has won a World Series and just three rallied from such a rough start to even make the playoffs: the 1951 New York Giants, 1974 Pittsburgh Pirates and 2001 Oakland Athletics.

    Todd Jones almost needed the two-run cushion his teammates gave him, putting two on with two outs before earning his second save. It was the 303rd save of his career to pull into a tie with Doug Jones for 19th on the career list.

    Francis Beltran (1-0) gave up a hit and a walk in the eighth.

    Matt Guerrier didn't take the loss, but he made Detroit's comeback possible by giving up five runs - four earned - and five hits in just 1 1/3 innings. Pat Neshek (0-1) allowed two runs in the eighth.

    Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn gave up eight hits and four runs over 5 2/3 innings.

    "Any time a team with that kind of lineup gets on a roll, it can get dangerous in a hurry," Blackburn said. "Against this team, any mistakes are going to be magnified. They can wake up at any time."

    Jeremy Bonderman allowed seven runs -- four earned -- eight hits, two walks and struck out five over 6 1/3 innings. His replacement wasn't much better. Bobby Seay gave up three hits and two runs, getting the last two outs of the seventh.

    Game notes

    Detroit CF Curtis Granderson, who is on the DL, is expected to take batting practice Tuesday. ... Tigers RHP Fernando Rodney is scheduled to have Dr. James Andrews examine his injured shoulder Wednesday. ... Minnesota's Delmon Young, Jason Kubel and Brendan Harris had two RBIs each. ... Beltran won for the first time since 2004, when he was pitching for the Cubs against Houston.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press