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Tigers get lift from unlikely Thames in easy win over Indians

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Marcus Thames started his Saturday in a North Carolina hotel room. He finished it as a big-league star.

A few hours after finding out that he would be returning to the majors, Thames hit a grand slam to lead the Detroit Tigers to an 11-1 rout of the Cleveland Indians.

"I was in the hotel at midnight, looking for some food, and the manager called me to tell me something had happened in Detroit," said Thames, who replaced injured Ramon Martinez on Detroit's roster. "A few minutes later, he called to give my itinerary. I think I got 90 minutes of sleep -- I was running on pure adrenaline today."

Thames was the last cut in spring training, when Detroit manager Alan Trammell chose to keep Bobby Higginson instead of the younger and cheaper Thames.

"It was tough," Thames said. "But I took three days off to clear my head and get away from the game, then I went to (Triple-A) Toledo and got ready to go."

Brandon Inge fell just short of the cycle for the Tigers. He tripled, doubled and singled in his first three at-bats, but flew out in the seventh.

"I'm not going to lie -- I was thinking about the homer," he said. "But my hitting style is to take everything up the middle, and that's not a good place to hit a home run here. I was just hoping to make a mistake and pull something."

Carlos Pena also homered for the Tigers, who had 11 hits and took advantage of three Cleveland errors.

"It's early, but we need to be better than that," said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. "We have people out there who are capable defensively, but we need to make the plays."

Wil Ledezma was the winner in his season debut, allowing one run and seven hits in six innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Jake Westbrook (0-2) allowed a career-high eight runs -- seven earned -- on seven hits and two walks in two-plus innings. The seven earned runs were also a career worst.

"Today wasn't a good day," Westbrook said. "It kind of snowballs on you once you start battling."

The Tigers scored at least once in each of the first four innings on their way to a 10-run lead.

Pena's first homer of the season made it 2-0 in the first, and in the second, Inge tripled and scored on Nook Logan's single through a drawn-in infield.

Detroit then put the game away with five runs before an out was recorded in the third.

Carlos Guillen led off with a double and Pena and Dmitri Young both walked, loading the bases. Craig Monroe grounded to short, but second baseman Ronnie Belliard dropped Jhonny Peralta's toss, allowing a run to score.

"I just tried to be too quick," Belliard said. "I knew (Young) was running hard, and I took my eyes off the ball."

Thames, who arrived at the park just before batting practice, then gave the Tigers a 8-0 lead with his second career grand slam.

"This was fun," said Thames, who is best-known for homering off Randy Johnson on the first pitch of his career while a member of the Yankees.

The Indians got on the board in the top of the fourth on Aaron Boone's second homer in as many days, but the Tigers scored three more in the bottom half on RBI singles by Monroe and Inge, and Peralta's second error, a bad throw on an attempted force play at second.

Notes

  • Damion Easley was the last Tigers player to hit for the cycle, doing it against the Angels on June 8, 2001.
  • Thames' other grand slam came at Comiskey Park on July 25, 2004.
  • Westbrook's two-inning start was his shortest since a one-inning outing at Kansas City on Sept. 11, 2003.
  • Magglio Ordonez (viral infection) missed his third straight game and remains day to day, while Ivan Rodriguez got a routine day off.
  • The Tigers placed Martinez (sprained thumb) on the 15-day disabled list and called up Thames.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Marcus Thames (middle) gets some love from Carlos Pena and Dmitri Young after his grand slam. (AP)
Marcus Thames (middle) gets some love from Carlos Pena and Dmitri Young after his grand slam. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

B. Inge
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Detroit

M. Thames
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Cleveland Indians
Coco Crisp, CF4010001 .280
Ron Belliard, 2B4010011 .375
Aaron Boone, DH4111002 .143
Victor Martinez, C4010001 .267
Jose Hernandez, 3B3010001 .222
   a- Alex Cora, PH1000000 .200
Casey Blake, RF3010011 .167
   b- Grady Sizemore, PH1000000 .231
Ben Broussard, 1B3010002 .133
Ryan Ludwick, LF4000015 .000
Jhonny Peralta, SS3010000 .200
Totals341810314 
a-grounded out for Hernandez in the 9th
b-flied out for Blake in the 9th
Batting
HR - Aaron Boone (2, Ledezma)
RBI - Aaron Boone (4)
CS - Jhonny Peralta (1, 2nd base by Ledezma/V. Wilson)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Peralta-Belliard-Broussard, Hernandez-Broussard
E - Ron Belliard (1, Missed catch), Jhonny Peralta 2 (4, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook (L,0-2) 2787212 7.20
Scott Sauerbeck 3432040 6.00
Rafael Betancourt 3000010 0.00
HBP - Guillen (by Jake Westbrook)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 53-32, Scott Sauerbeck 44-31, Rafael Betancourt 26-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 6-0, Scott Sauerbeck 3-2, Rafael Betancourt 1-7
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 17, Scott Sauerbeck 13, Rafael Betancourt 9
Detroit Tigers
Omar Infante, 2B5000002 .190
Carlos Guillen, SS4320010 .444
Carlos Pena, 1B4212121 .286
Dmitri Young, DH3220100 .400
Craig Monroe, RF4212011 .176
Marcus Thames, LF4114013 .250
Brandon Inge, 3B4131000 .438
Vance Wilson, C4000001 .000
Nook Logan, CF4011013 .200
Totals361111102611 
Batting
2B - Carlos Guillen (1, Westbrook), Brandon Inge (1, Westbrook)
3B - Brandon Inge (1, Westbrook)
HR - Carlos Pena (1, Westbrook), Marcus Thames (1, Westbrook)
RBI - Carlos Pena 2 (4), Craig Monroe 2 (5), Marcus Thames 4 (4), Brandon Inge (4), Nook Logan (1)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Inge (3)
Team LOB - 4
Detroit Tigers
Wil Ledezma (W,1-0) 6711031 1.50
Jamie Walker 2100000 3.00
Franklyn German 1000000 4.50
HBP - Broussard (by Franklyn German)
Pitches-Strikes - Wil Ledezma 101-60, Jamie Walker 17-13, Franklyn German 18-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wil Ledezma 4-10, Jamie Walker 3-3, Franklyn German 1-2
Batters Faced - Wil Ledezma 24, Jamie Walker 7, Franklyn German 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26037
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 54
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Mike Reilly, Second Base - Andy Fletcher, Third Base - Paul Schrieber