OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jim Leyland's players were singing and smiling again around the clubhouse tables, exhibiting the kind of exuberance that comes with knowing you are accomplishing something special.
Success has been hard to come by for the Tigers organization in recent years, so why not enjoy? Even if it is just early July.
All-Star Kenny Rogers won his seventh straight decision against his former club and Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer, leading Detroit over the Oakland Athletics 10-4 Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.
"We definitely have some pieces to the puzzle that allow us to go out and be a playoff-contending team," Monroe said.
Brandon Inge added a solo homer for the Tigers, who have the best record in baseball but had lost three of four following a seven-game winning streak. They have been swept only once this season, April 10-13 by the World Series champion Chicago White Sox.
"It's a big win," All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez said. "Every win is important. Oakland played great for two games, then we came back and scored runs early. We're fine, we're OK, we're in good shape."
Rogers, headed to his third straight All-Star game next week in Pittsburgh, posted his fourth win in a row overall despite not having his best stuff. He gave up four earned runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out four and walked two.
"He wasn't at his best today but he was good enough," said Leyland, Detroit's first-year manager.
The left-hander is 25-4 in 56 games in Oakland -- including 23-1 in 41 starts at the Coliseum since 1995. He pitched for the A's in 1998-99. He leads all active pitchers with 21 victories against the A's.
"He's always good against us," Oakland's Mark Kotsay said of Rogers. "We put some balls in play hard against him and had some chances. Payton's line drive would have given us another run. That just killed us. But we won a series against a team 29 games over .500."
Payton, who hurt Detroit in the first two games -- hitting a three-run homer Monday night and driving in two runs including the winning single in the 10th inning of Oakland's 2-1 win Tuesday -- went 0-for-4.
At 41, Rogers is being considered by White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen to be the AL starter in the All-Star game.
"I'm sure they've got a lot better guys to choose from than me," Rogers said. "I'm glad I don't have to make that decision. I'm just excited to be part of it."
Roman Colon pitched the final 3 1/3 innings for his first career save.
Detroit finishes a nine-game road trip this weekend against the Mariners in Seattle.
Rogers allowed Kielty's leadoff single in the second, then retired the next eight batters before Kielty doubled in the fourth.
Kirk Saarloos (3-5), coming off consecutive no-decisions, lasted only 4 1/3 innings after getting tagged for nine hits and eight runs.
"That was a very un-Saarloos-like start," A's manager Ken Macha said. "He was up in the zone and in the middle of the plate. Kirk didn't have the same command he's had."
Monroe hit his 12th home run of the year in the third, then Inge connected the next inning for his 17th.
The teams play three games in Detroit later this month. The A's have won the last five season series and are 31-13 against Detroit since 2001. The Tigers took two of three from the A's in Oakland in April.
|Kenny Rogers, who pitched for the A's from '98-99, improves to 25-4 in 56 games in Oakland. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Curtis Granderson, CF||4||2||2||0||1||1||0||.283|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||5||1||1||1||0||0||2||.284|
|Ivan Rodriguez, C||5||2||3||1||0||1||0||.306|
|Marcus Thames, LF||4||0||0||0||1||0||2||.296|
|Carlos Guillen, SS||5||2||2||1||0||0||1||.300|
|Craig Monroe, DH||4||2||2||2||1||0||1||.245|
|Alexis Gomez, RF||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||.278|
|Chris Shelton, 1B||3||0||1||2||1||0||0||.279|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||1||4||.225|
|2B - Curtis Granderson (20, Saarloos), Ivan Rodriguez 2 (16, Saarloos, Saarloos), Craig Monroe (16, Saarloos)|
|HR - Craig Monroe (12, Saarloos), Brandon Inge (17, Saarloos)|
|RBI - Placido Polanco (32), Ivan Rodriguez (39), Carlos Guillen (50), Craig Monroe 2 (41), Alexis Gomez (6), Chris Shelton 2 (41), Brandon Inge (47)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carlos Guillen (20), Craig Monroe 2 (17), Alexis Gomez (4), Chris Shelton 2 (13)|
|SB - Carlos Guillen (12, 2nd base off Saarloos/Kendall), Alexis Gomez (4, 2nd base off Flores/Kendall)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Polanco|
|Kenny Rogers (W,11-3)||5.2||8||4||4||2||4||2||3.85|
|Roman Colon (S,1)||3.1||2||0||0||0||1||0||4.74|
|HBP - Thomas (by Kenny Rogers)|
|WP - Roman Colon (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kenny Rogers 99-61, Roman Colon 38-25|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kenny Rogers 5-7, Roman Colon 7-2|
|Batters Faced - Kenny Rogers 27, Roman Colon 12|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||2||2||.227|
|Jason Kendall, C||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.268|
|a- Adam Melhuse, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.239|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||5||0||1||0||0||1||2||.251|
|Frank Thomas, DH||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||.238|
|Antonio Perez, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.091|
|Jay Payton, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||5||.278|
|Bobby Kielty, LF||4||2||3||1||0||0||0||.302|
|Mark Kotsay, CF||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.247|
|Marco Scutaro, 3B||4||1||1||2||0||0||1||.221|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.242|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Kendall in the 9th|
|2B - Jason Kendall (9, Rogers), Bobby Crosby (11, Rogers), Bobby Kielty (10, Rogers), Mark Kotsay (13, Rogers), Dan Johnson (12, Rogers)|
|HR - Bobby Kielty (3, Rogers), Marco Scutaro (1, Rogers)|
|RBI - Bobby Kielty (16), Mark Kotsay (29), Marco Scutaro 2 (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Mark Kotsay (7), Marco Scutaro 2 (3)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Crosby-Ellis-Johnson, Crosby-Ellis-Johnson|
|E - Jason Kendall (2, Wild throw)|
|Kirk Saarloos (L,3-5)||4.1||9||8||8||0||2||2||5.33|
|IBB - Monroe by Ron Flores|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kirk Saarloos 73-49, Ron Flores 41-22, Scott Sauerbeck 20-12, Chad Gaudin 9-6, Brad Halsey 7-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kirk Saarloos 8-3, Ron Flores 2-1, Scott Sauerbeck 1-2, Chad Gaudin 1-0, Brad Halsey 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Kirk Saarloos 22, Ron Flores 11, Scott Sauerbeck 4, Chad Gaudin 2, Brad Halsey 3|
|Attendance - 22210|
|Game Time - 2:35|
|Temperature - 61|
|Umpires - Home - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Ron Kulpa|