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Tampa Bay at Detroit

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Detroit «00230100x6122

Miner helps Tigers match woeful '03 victory total

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers have come a long way in three years.

In 2003, they celebrated their 43rd victory as if they had just won the World Series. By beating Minnesota on the final day of the season, Detroit finished 43-119 to avoid tying the 1962 New York Mets' major league record of 120 losses.

On Thursday, the Tigers didn't even notice win No. 43 of 2006.

"Wow," Brandon Inge said after Detroit improved to 43-24 with a 6-2 victory over Tampa Bay. "I hadn't even thought about that. It's really unbelievable how much has changed here. That year, we fought (hard) to get to 43, and now we're there long before the All-Star break."

The win also kept the first-place Tigers ahead of Chicago in the AL Central.

"For the last few years, we've just been dreaming about getting out of the cellar," Inge said. "Now we're a contender."

Zach Miner, who was pitching in Class-A for the Atlanta Braves in 2003, allowed just two unearned runs and three hits in seven innings for Detroit.

"He did a really nice job," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's a legit pitcher. He just has to learn to trust his stuff."

Miner (2-1) won for the second straight time in his third career start.

"I'm more comfortable, but I'm still not comfortable-comfortable," he said. "I'm still pitching every game like they might send me back down tomorrow. That might last all year."

Wil Ledezma and Fernando Rodney finished the game, each pitching a scoreless inning.

"They had good pitching, and there's nothing you can do about that," Tampa Bay's Jorge Cantu said. "We played good, but they have great pitching."

Inge and Vance Wilson, the bottom two hitters in the lineup, drove in two runs apiece.

"That's what we need," Leyland said. "We can't always rely on the middle of the order or the top of the order."

Casey Fossum (2-3) took his first loss since May 14, allowing six runs, 10 hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.

"Things didn't go my way today," said Fossum, who got hit by two grounders, both in the right shin. "Nothing did."

Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead against Miner in the first, but couldn't hold on.

With one out, Ty Wigginton reached on Carlos Guillen's error at shortstop, then went to third on Rocco Baldelli's double. Cantu's groundout scored Wigginton, and Aubrey Huff followed with an RBI single.

"I felt good when the game began, and we got those two points early," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "All of a sudden, we just seemed to stop pushing. That was disappointing."

The Tigers tied the score with two runs in the third and went ahead with three in the fourth.

Chris Shelton led off the third with a bloop double and scored when Inge's sinking liner to center skipped past a diving Baldelli for a triple. Wilson followed with an RBI groundout.

Marcus Thames and Magglio Ordonez started the fourth with singles, and Guillen followed with an RBI double. After Omar Infante struck out and Shelton walked, Inge made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly. Wilson added an RBI single.

The Tigers increased the margin to four on Placido Polanco's RBI single in the sixth.

Notes

  • Ledezma was called up from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday night to replace Bobby Seay, who had been designated for assignment.
  • Both teams travel to National League parks for interleague play this weekend -- the Tigers to Chicago's Wrigley Field and Tampa Bay to Philadelphia.
  • C Ivan Rodriguez was out of the starting lineup for a scheduled day off, despite a career .373 batting average against Tampa Bay.
 
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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Rookie Zach Miner surrenders two unearned runs in the first inning but gets the victory.  (AP)
Rookie Zach Miner surrenders two unearned runs in the first inning but gets the victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

Z. Miner
IP 0.0
H 0
ER 0
BB 0
K 0
Detroit

B. Inge
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Julio Lugo, SS4000001 .255
Ty Wigginton, RF4100011 .264
Rocco Baldelli, CF4120011 .367
Jorge Cantu, 2B4001011 .287
Aubrey Huff, 3B3011100 .197
Jonny Gomes, DH4000003 .248
Damon Hollins, LF3000011 .230
Toby Hall, C3000002 .244
Travis Lee, 1B2000100 .210
Totals312322410 
Batting
2B - Rocco Baldelli (3, Miner)
RBI - Jorge Cantu (18), Aubrey Huff (13)
2-OUT RBI - Aubrey Huff (6)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Huff-Cantu-Lee
E - Damon Hollins (3, misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Casey Fossum (L,2-3) 5.21066330 5.45
Travis Harper 2.1200030 5.08
Pitches-Strikes - Casey Fossum 91-58, Travis Harper 32-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Casey Fossum 4-9, Travis Harper 1-2
Batters Faced - Casey Fossum 29, Travis Harper 8
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF5000034 .282
Placido Polanco, 2B4011000 .280
Marcus Thames, LF4110012 .309
    Alexis Gomez, LF0000000 .245
Magglio Ordonez, RF4130010 .305
Carlos Guillen, SS3121101 .289
Omar Infante, DH4000015 .266
Chris Shelton, 1B2210201 .278
Brandon Inge, 3B3122001 .221
Vance Wilson, C3022000 .286
Totals3261263614 
Batting
2B - Carlos Guillen (18, Fossum), Chris Shelton (11, Fossum)
3B - Brandon Inge (2, Fossum)
SF - Brandon Inge (4)
SH - Vance Wilson (3)
RBI - Placido Polanco (24), Carlos Guillen (38), Brandon Inge 2 (39), Vance Wilson 2 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Placido Polanco (8), Vance Wilson (6)
CS - Brandon Inge (3, 3rd base by Harper/Hall)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Guillen-Polanco-Shelton
E - Carlos Guillen (12, misplayed grounder), Brandon Inge (11, misplayed grounder)
Detroit Tigers
Zach Miner (W,2-1) 7320110 2.65
Wil Ledezma 1000120 0.00
Fernando Rodney 1000010 2.51
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Miner 108-71, Wil Ledezma 18-9, Fernando Rodney 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Miner 12-9
Batters Faced - Zach Miner 26, Wil Ledezma 4, Fernando Rodney 3
Game Information
Attendance - 28269
Game Time - 2:25
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Joe West