Detroit downs Houston for fourth straight win

DETROIT (AP) -- Jim Leyland thought starter Zach Miner was
falling behind too early, which could have spelled disaster for the
rookie. So the Detroit Tigers manager made an early trip to the
mound to give the right-hander some encouragement.

"He gave me a breather, he gave me a pep talk," Miner said
after the Tigers beat the Houston Astros 10-4 on Monday night.
"They were on almost everything I threw. I really didn't trust
myself that much. I was out there wondering if I was going to make
it to the second."

Leyland said Miner (4-1) has an advantage over opponents who
haven't seen him before but he said Miner had to pick up the pace
after giving up four consecutive hits in the first inning.

"He's got good stuff," Leyland said. "He's still feeling his
way a little bit, he just has to trust his stuff."

Miner regrouped and struck out five over 5 1-3 innings, allowing
three runs and 10 hits.

Ivan Rodriguez's two-run double highlighted Detroit's five-run
third and he homered off starter Wandy Rodriguez (8-5) in the

Chris Shelton led off the Tigers' big inning with a single and
he tied the game at 1 when Brandon Inge doubled to the center field
wall. Curtis Granderson followed with an RBI single that got past
Houston first baseman Mike Lamb.

Rodriguez then drove in Granderson and Placido Polanco, who had
doubled. Rodriguez scored on a sacrifice fly by Magglio Ordonez
that put the Tigers ahead 5-1.

Lance Berkman, who went 2-for-4, and Astros manager Phil Garner
were ejected in the seventh.

Berkman was called out at first base trying to beat out a
grounder. He slammed his helmet to the ground and was immediately
ejected by first base umpire C.B. Bucknor. Garner rushed onto the
field to argue and was eventually tossed after throwing his cap to
the ground.

"That was quite possibly the fastest ejection in the history of
the game," Berkman said. "I think he just continued the same arm
motion from calling me out to throwing me out."

Garner threw a chair after he returned to the Houston dugout.

"Phil backs his players, so I wasn't surprised. I told him the
chair was a nice touch," Berkman said.

"I had been trying to get thrown out for the last couple of
minutes, but he wouldn't do it," Garner said. "That chair had
been bothering me the whole game. It needed to get out of the

Garner was making his first return to Detroit since he was fired
as Tigers manager in 2002.

"I knew his agenda as soon as he went out there," said
Detroit's Brandon Inge, who made his major league debut while
Garner was managing the Tigers. "I knew he was going to get tossed
as soon as he went out there. I was cracking up."

When the dust settled after the ejections, Eric Munson hit a
solo homer to pull Houston within 6-4.

Detroit added three runs in the eighth. Marcus Thames hit an RBI
double and Craig Monroe drove in a run with a bloop single down the
right field line. With the bases loaded, Granderson grounded into a
forceout to make it 10-4.

Rodriguez gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings.

"I felt good but they hit good pitches," Rodriguez said
through an interpreter.

Game notes
RHP Roger Clemens will make his second start of the season
Tuesday against the Tigers. The game is expected to be a sellout.
... Munson played for Detroit from 2000-04. ... It was Garner's
fourth ejection this season. ... Thames has reached base safely in
38 of his last 40 games.