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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.