DETROIT (AP) -- Mike Ilitch can't be surprised that he owns a
team that looks like a championship contender.
He just probably wasn't expecting it to be the Detroit Tigers.
Ilitch, whose Detroit Red Wings were upset in the first round of
the NHL playoffs, made a rare visit to the Comerica Park clubhouse
Friday night after the Tigers won their seventh straight game by
beating the Cleveland Indians 8-3.
"It's great to see him down here," Brandon Inge said. "We had
to do something to get him away from the hockey clubhouse and into
Detroit, which hadn't won seven in a row since 1993, has now
done it twice this season. At 34-14, the Tigers have the best
record in the majors and are 20 games over .500 for the first time
"It is fun to be a part of," said Curtis Granderson, who had a
career-high five RBI. "When we go out to the grocery store,
people are stopping us to tell us we're doing a good job."
One of the 31,241 fans even held up a sign that asked "When do
playoff tickets go on sale?" but Tigers manager Jim Leyland
thought the fan was getting a little too excited in May.
"My cigarettes have filters on them," he said. "I don't think
that guy's did."
Nate Robertson (5-2) moved to 4-0 in his last seven starts,
allowing three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in six-plus
innings. He walked one and struck out two.
Jake Westbrook (4-3) lost for the seventh time in 10 career
decisions against Detroit, giving up seven runs, seven hits and
four walks in 5 1-3 innings. Westbrook has a 6.54 ERA in 16 games
against the Tigers.
"This is as frustrated as I've ever been," he said. "We know
we're a better ballclub than this."
Things went wrong for the Indians right from the start. Grady
Sizemore led off the game with a drive off the right-center
scoreboard, but Granderson and shortstop Ramon Santiago combined to
throw him out at third.
"That just deflates a team," said Inge, who made the tag.
"Curtis made a great throw from center, and Ramon put his relay in
the perfect spot. The ball hit my glove just as he slid into it."
Westbrook retired the next two batters on a grounder to the
mound and a popout, giving him a chance to escape the inning, but
Granderson lined a two-run single to left for a three-run lead.
Jhonny Peralta lined a double into the right-field corner and
ended up on third when Magglio Ordonez misplayed the carom for an
error. The Tigers brought the infield in to try to keep Peralta
from scoring the tying run, and it worked when Travis Hafner and
Victor Martinez both grounded out.
Detroit loaded the bases with none out in the sixth, and Inge
fouled off three two-strike pitches before making it 4-2 with a
"I made some very good pitches, and he fouled them off,"
Westbrook said. "Then I elevate a slider and he gets the sacrifice
Santiago walked, loading the bases again and ending Westbrook's
night. Granderson greeted reliever Jason Davis with a triple into
the right-field corner, giving the Tigers a five-run lead.
"Jake's better than that," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
"You've got to bear down, focus and make adjustments."
Eduardo Perez pulled the Indians to 7-3 with a solo shot off
Robertson in the seventh.
Ordonez scored from second on a deep fly to center in the bottom
half, taking advantage of a weak throw by Sizemore that rolled past
shortstop Peralta. Sizemore was given an error on the play, but
Wedge blamed weak efforts by Peralta and second baseman Ronnie
"That has nothing to do with Grady," Wedge said. "No matter
what the score is, that can't happen."
The World Series-winning 1984 team was the last Tigers
squad with multiple seven-game winning streaks. That club had four,
all during its record-setting 35-5 start. ... The Tigers placed LHP
Mike Maroth (elbow) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP
Chris Spurling from Triple-A Toledo. ... Tigers SS Carlos Guillen
was a late scratch with a stiff neck, but Leyland said it wasn't