DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers know they have to take small steps in their return to respectability.
Perhaps it was fitting that, on the night they got to .500, they figured out how to be the team taking advantage of errors, instead of the team making them.
"Part of baseball is capitalizing on the other team's mistakes," Craig Monroe said after the Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-4 Wednesday night. "You have to play hard and force the other team into screwing up. We've been playing pretty good baseball, and that's carrying over."
The Devil Rays made three errors in their fourth straight loss.
"We beat ourselves again tonight," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "They had four unearned runs. That's not good baseball."
Detroit improved to 19-19 while winning for the seventh time in 10 games.
"It feels good to be back at .500, but now we need to take that next step," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "We can't stop here. We're grinding and winning some close games, and we have to keep that up."
Wil Ledezma (2-3) won for the first time since April 9, a span of five starts, despite giving up four runs and five hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out a career-best seven.
Three Tigers relievers finished, with Ugueth Urbina pitching a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
Doug Waechter (1-3) lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up six runs -- two earned -- and seven hits. He also committed two of the errors.
"It was just one of those nights," Waechter said. "It wasn't what I expected."
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the first on Julio Lugo's second homer, but the Tigers tied the score in the bottom half. Nook Logan singled, took third when Waechter threw away a pickoff attempt and scored on Brandon Inge's groundout.
"That's what speed does for you," Trammell said. "They are worried about keeping Nook close and they throw one away, and then we get a run with a simple grounder."
Piniella was disgusted with how quickly his team squandered its early advantage.
"Lugo gets us going, and we throw it away and they tie it," he said. "We've got to eliminate those things."
Detroit took the lead in the second on Dmitri Young's sixth homer and an RBI double by Omar Infante.
More poor Tampa Bay defense led to three unearned runs in the third.
With one out, Ivan Rodriguez reached when Waechter dropped Eduardo Perez's throw while covering first. Rondell White followed with an RBI double, then took third when Jorge Cantu misplayed Young's grounder for the Devil Rays' third error.
Monroe then singled off third baseman Alex Gonzalez's glove, scoring Rodriguez and bringing Jon Switzer out of the Tampa Bay bullpen. After Carlos Pena struck out, Infante lined a single to center, making it 6-1.
"You can't give a team more than three outs in an inning at this level," Logan said. "We've lost some games that way this season, so it was good to win one."
Toby Hall brought the Devil Rays within 6-4 with a three-run homer in the fourth. Hall fouled off four possible third strikes before homering on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.
|Players of the Game|
New Era Detroit Tigers Hat
$27.95 Shop Now!
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Carl Crawford, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.260|
|Julio Lugo, SS||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.253|
|Eduardo Perez, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.271|
|a- Alex Sanchez, PH-RF||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.348|
|Josh Phelps, DH||4||1||1||0||0||2||3||.255|
|Aubrey Huff, RF-1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||3||.240|
|Jorge Cantu, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.270|
|Alex Gonzalez, 3B||3||1||0||0||1||2||0||.247|
|Toby Hall, C||4||1||2||3||0||0||0||.306|
|Damon Hollins, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.306|
|a-singled for Perez in the 8th|
|HR - Julio Lugo (2, Ledezma), Toby Hall (3, Ledezma)|
|RBI - Julio Lugo (18), Toby Hall 3 (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Toby Hall 3 (4)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|E - Jorge Cantu (4, Misplayed grounder), Doug Waechter 2 (2, Wild throw)|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Doug Waechter (L,1-3)||2.1||7||6||2||0||1||1||5.80|
|HBP - R. White (by Jesus Colome)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Doug Waechter 47-38, Jon Switzer 64-37, Jesus Colome 40-26|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Waechter 5-2, Jon Switzer 2-3|
|Batters Faced - Doug Waechter 15, Jon Switzer 14, Jesus Colome 10|
|Nook Logan, CF||4||1||1||0||1||0||1||.337|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||5||0||1||1||0||2||1||.329|
|Ivan Rodriguez, C||5||1||0||0||0||0||2||.262|
|Rondell White, LF||3||1||1||1||0||1||1||.295|
|Dmitri Young, DH||4||2||1||1||0||0||2||.288|
|Craig Monroe, RF||4||1||3||1||0||1||0||.292|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.204|
|Omar Infante, 2B||3||0||2||2||1||1||1||.252|
|Jason Smith, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||6||.219|
|2B - Rondell White (6, Waechter), Omar Infante (10, Waechter)|
|HR - Dmitri Young (6, Waechter)|
|RBI - Brandon Inge (21), Rondell White (17), Dmitri Young (19), Craig Monroe (25), Omar Infante 2 (16)|
|2-OUT RBI - Omar Infante (10)|
|SB - Nook Logan (5, 2nd base off Colome/Hall)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Inge-Infante-Pena|
|Wil Ledezma (W,2-3)||5||5||4||4||2||7||2||5.79|
|Chris Spurling (H,1)||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||0.00|
|Kyle Farnsworth (H,7)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.50|
|Ugueth Urbina (S,5)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||3.54|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wil Ledezma 100-64, Chris Spurling 24-14, Kyle Farnsworth 11-8, Ugueth Urbina 20-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wil Ledezma 1-7, Chris Spurling 2-2, Kyle Farnsworth 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Wil Ledezma 22, Chris Spurling 6, Kyle Farnsworth 4, Ugueth Urbina 3|
|Attendance - 17414|
|Game Time - 2:57|
|Temperature - 67|
|Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Tim Welke|