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Granderson helps Tigers extend winning streak to seven

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- 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 ours."

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 since 1988.

"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."

The Tigers then scored three runs in the second inning. Chris Shelton and Craig Monroe started the inning with singles, and Marcus Thames made it 1-0 with a double down the left-field line.

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.

Robertson had a shutout until the sixth, when Cleveland scored twice. Aaron Boone led off with a single and went to second on Jason Michaels' one-out base hit.

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 sacrifice fly.

"I made some very good pitches, and he fouled them off," Westbrook said. "Then I elevate a slider and he gets the sacrifice fly."

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 Belliard.

"That has nothing to do with Grady," Wedge said. "No matter what the score is, that can't happen."

Notes

  • 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 serious.
 
Copyright 2015 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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The Tigers continue their winning streak behind Curtis Granderson's career-high five RBI.  (AP)
The Tigers continue their winning streak behind Curtis Granderson's career-high five RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

C. Granderson
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 5
Cleveland

E. Perez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4010011 .297
Jason Michaels, LF4110000 .271
Jhonny Peralta, SS4021010 .253
Travis Hafner, DH4000012 .303
Victor Martinez, C3000101 .302
Eduardo Perez, 1B4121000 .333
Casey Blake, RF3000002 .348
Ron Belliard, 2B3000002 .260
Aaron Boone, 3B3110000 .260
Totals32372138 
Batting
2B - Grady Sizemore (11, Robertson), Jhonny Peralta (10, Robertson)
HR - Eduardo Perez (7, Robertson)
RBI - Jhonny Peralta (22), Eduardo Perez (20)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Grady Sizemore (2, Wild throw)
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook (L,4-3) 5.1777420 5.58
Jason Davis 1.2210010 3.09
Guillermo Mota 1000010 5.59
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 99-62, Jason Davis 24-17, Guillermo Mota 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 11-3, Jason Davis 1-3, Guillermo Mota 1-1
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 27, Jason Davis 7, Guillermo Mota 3
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF5025011 .279
Placido Polanco, 2B4000012 .292
Ivan Rodriguez, C4010001 .307
Magglio Ordonez, RF4110001 .320
Chris Shelton, 1B2210211 .311
Craig Monroe, LF4220001 .253
Marcus Thames, DH3211110 .310
Brandon Inge, 3B3001002 .225
Ramon Santiago, SS3110102 .216
Totals328974411 
Batting
2B - Magglio Ordonez (10, Davis), Marcus Thames (5, Westbrook)
3B - Curtis Granderson (2, Davis)
SF - Brandon Inge (3)
RBI - Curtis Granderson 5 (26), Marcus Thames (12), Brandon Inge (30)
2-OUT RBI - Curtis Granderson 2 (12)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Curtis Granderson 1
DP - Shelton-Santiago
E - Magglio Ordonez (3, Misplayed bated ball)
Detroit Tigers
Nate Robertson (W,5-2) 6732121 3.02
Jason Grilli 2000010 4.00
Jamie Walker 1000000 0.77
Pitches-Strikes - Nate Robertson 91-54, Jason Grilli 21-16, Jamie Walker 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nate Robertson 4-10, Jason Grilli 5-0
Batters Faced - Nate Robertson 24, Jason Grilli 6, Jamie Walker 3
Game Information
Attendance - 31241
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Larry Poncino, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman