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Detroit at Texas

Shelton hits major league-leading fifth home run

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Chris Shelton has five homers in his first four games, a pace he knows he won't be able to maintain over the long haul.

For now, he's just trying to keep it going for as long as possible.

Shelton had a two-run homer and the Detroit Tigers remained the AL's only unbeaten team with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

"It's a little overwhelming," Shelton said.

Last season it took Shelton 26 games to reach five homers en route to his career high of 18.

"It's strange for me, power-wise," Shelton said. "It's not something I'm accustomed to. I'm not going up trying to hit home runs. I'm just trying to get good pitches to hit and they're going out of the park. It's surprising."

Tigers starter Mike Maroth (1-0) gave up one run and eight hits with one walk in 5 1/3 innings. Reliever's Jason Grilli, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney combined to allow one run and three hits over the final 3 2/3 innings. Rodney worked the ninth for his second save.

Maroth had been 0-3 against Texas with a 10.35 ERA in four previous appearances.

Marcus Thames matched a career high with three hits for Detroit.

The Tigers have won their first four games and are off to their best start since 2004. They lead the majors with 16 homers.

"You're happy to be 4-0 but I won't get too excited about it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "In our first four games, our starting pitchers got wins. That's very unlikely but in this case, we did. We're pitching and playing defense very well."

Michael Young homered for the Rangers, who have dropped four of five to begin the season.

John Koronka (0-1) allowed four runs and six hits over five innings in his Rangers debut. He struck out one and didn't issue a walk in a 71-pitch outing.

His one regret was the 3-2 pitch to Shelton that wound up in the seats in left-center.

"I wish I could have had it back," Koronka said. "I made one mistake that cost us."

Koronka, acquired from the Chicago Cubs last week in a three-team trade, had been sent to the bullpen by the Cubs in the spring. But Koronka has been a starter throughout most of his career and was moved into the fifth slot in the Texas rotation.

With wind gusting around 35 mph, fly balls were a challenge. In the second, Rangers right fielder Kevin Mench overran Shelton's wind-blown fly ball that fell in for a double.

Tigers second baseman Curtis Granderson said the wind was blowing so hard "it was like a helicopter" was hovering over the stadium.

Said Leyland: "I've seen it windy, but tonight you could hear it. It really swirled around and you never knew what to expect. It was almost like a storm."

Koronka was so convinced the ball would end up in the first-base stands that he turned to home plate umpire Tim McClelland for a new ball. But the crowd reaction told him that the ball had blown back into fair territory.

"I saw the ball blow back, saw (Mench) turn and said to myself, 'Nice wind,"' Koronka said.

The Rangers took the lead on Young's solo homer in the first, his first of the season.

Carlos Guillen's RBI single in the second tied it at one, and Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock's fielding error on Craig Monroe's grounder allowed Shelton to score the second run of the inning.

Shelton's two-run drive off Koronka in the fourth stretched Detroit's lead to 4-1.

Detroit loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth and Magglio Ordonez scored from third on a double play to make it 5-1.

Texas pulled to 5-2 in the seventh on Mark Teixeira's RBI single off Zumaya.

Notes

  • Shelton's first four homers of the season were with the bases empty.
  • Rangers manager Buck Showalter is considering several options for Tuesday night's road start against the Los Angeles Angels, including Koronka on three days' rest.
  • Knuckeballer R.A. Dickey was originally slotted for Tuesday night's start, but was sent to the minors on Friday after giving up six homers to the Tigers on Thursday night.
  • RHP Rick Bauer was brought up from Triple-A Oklahoma before the game and made his Rangers debut in relief of Koronka, allowing one run and four hits in three innings.
  • Detroit has won six of the last eight meetings with Texas.
 
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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Mike Maroth gives up only one run and eight hits with one walk before exiting in the sixth inning.  (AP)
Mike Maroth gives up only one run and eight hits with one walk before exiting in the sixth inning. (AP)

Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4000112 .200
Placido Polanco, 2B5020000 .389
Ivan Rodriguez, C4010000 .438
Magglio Ordonez, RF3100102 .188
Marcus Thames, DH4230010 .556
Chris Shelton, 1B3222010 .688
Carlos Guillen, SS4021000 .313
Craig Monroe, LF4001002 .125
Brandon Inge, 3B4000000 .353
Totals355104236 
Batting
2B - Chris Shelton (2, Koronka), Carlos Guillen (1, Bauer)
HR - Chris Shelton (5, Koronka)
RBI - Chris Shelton 2 (6), Carlos Guillen (4), Craig Monroe (3)
CS - Curtis Granderson (1, 2nd base by Alfonseca/Barajas), Placido Polanco (1, 2nd base by Koronka/Barajas)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Polanco-Shelton, Guillen-Polanco-Shelton, Zumaya-Guillen-Shelton
Detroit Tigers
Mike Maroth (W,1-0) 5.1811101 1.69
Jason Grilli 1.1111110 6.75
Joel Zumaya (H,2) 1.1100010 0.00
Fernando Rodney (S,2) 1100000 0.00
HBP - Mench (by Joel Zumaya)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Maroth 84-49, Jason Grilli 25-15, Joel Zumaya 17-12, Fernando Rodney 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Maroth 7-7, Jason Grilli 2-1, Joel Zumaya 1-1, Fernando Rodney 2-1
Batters Faced - Mike Maroth 23, Jason Grilli 6, Joel Zumaya 5, Fernando Rodney 4
Texas Rangers
Brad Wilkerson, LF4110103 .217
Michael Young, SS4121101 .381
Mark Teixeira, 1B4021001 .400
Phil Nevin, DH4020012 .316
Hank Blalock, 3B4010002 .333
Kevin Mench, RF3000011 .250
Adrian Brown, CF4010002 .250
Rod Barajas, C4000001 .211
Ian Kinsler, 2B4020000 .462
Totals3521122213 
Batting
HR - Michael Young (1, Maroth)
RBI - Michael Young (5), Mark Teixeira (3)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teixeira (2)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Kinsler-Young-Teixeira
E - Hank Blalock (1, Misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
John Koronka (L,0-1) 5644011 7.20
Rick Bauer 3411120 3.00
Antonio Alfonseca 1000100 0.00
HBP - Shelton (by Rick Bauer)
WP - Rick Bauer (1)
Pitches-Strikes - John Koronka 71-48, Rick Bauer 48-29, Antonio Alfonseca 11-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Koronka 8-6, Rick Bauer 1-5, Antonio Alfonseca 2-0
Batters Faced - John Koronka 21, Rick Bauer 14, Antonio Alfonseca 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21155
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Bill Welke, Third Base - Field Culbreth