CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Tigers have done everything much faster than expected this season.
On Monday night, they made history in a hurry.
With a five-run first inning, Detroit became the first team in 115 years to score at least five runs in the first at-bat of three straight games, and the Tigers held on for a 9-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Tigers are the first team since the 1891 St. Louis Browns of the American Association to score five runs or more in the first inning of three consecutive games.
"I don't think it's impressive," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I think it's weird. It's hard to believe that it hasn't happened before. What is that, 115 years? That's hard to believe."
It's been that kind of season for the Tigers, who now lead the AL Central by 7½ games over the Chicago White Sox.
Detroit's fast start enabled Jeremy Bonderman (11-4) to remain unbeaten on the road this season. The right-hander lasted just five innings, allowing four runs and five hits before leaving with a 7-4 lead. He's 7-0 in 11 road starts, and hasn't lost anywhere since May 29 -- going 6-0 in a span of 10 outings.
"He was fighting himself all night," Leyland said. "He wasn't himself, but he's entitled to that. I'm glad we could pick him up."
Leyland has seen a lot during his baseball career, but although he found it interesting that the Tigers had scored early runs in bunches the past three games, he had no idea his team was making history.
After learning that Detroit had matched the 1891 Browns by scoring five, six and five runs in the first, Leyland had one more question about that St. Louis squad.
"How'd they finish?" he asked, and was told second place. "I don't like that at all."
"That was some kind of bad," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Benny did a good job getting in front of the ball, but couldn't make the play. Cliff kind of fell apart after that. That's the way our season has gone. I hate it. I don't like it."
Jamie Walker pitched 1 2/3 innings, Fernando Rodney got a big out in the seventh and worked a messy eighth and Todd Jones finished up for his 26th save.
Jones, too, joked about it taking 115 years for a team to be as potent as the '91 Browns in the first inning.
"I was in A-ball that year," the 38-year-old Jones said.
Ramon Vazquez and Broussard homered for Cleveland, 3-8 since the All-Star break.
Inge's 19th homer capped Detroit's five-run first, which was set up when Broussard couldn't handle Curtis Granderson's routine grounder leading off. Ivan Rodriguez brought home Granderson with a one-out double and scored on Carlos Guillen's two-out single.
"It's not Ben's fault all that happened," Lee said. "I have to do a better job of getting out of the jam."
Young followed with a single before Inge sliced his three-run shot inside the foul pole in right to make it 5-0.
The Tigers added a run in the fourth on Craig Monroe's RBI single.
Cleveland's only hit through three against Bonderman was Broussard's lazy fly down the right-field line in the second that fell for a double. In the fourth, Broussard's second hit was legitimate -- his 13th homer.
Young put the Tigers up 7-1 with his homer in the fifth, a shot to center off Fernando Cabrera. Young's first homer since Aug. 29 came four days after he returned from the disabled list for drug and alcohol problems.
The Indians closed to 7-4 in the fifth on Vazquez's two-run homer, his first since Sept. 21, 2004, and Travis Hafner's RBI double. But Bonderman avoided further damage by striking out Casey Blake for the third straight time.
Blake had a chance to atone for his tough night in the seventh after the Indians closed within two on Hafner's second double, but he bounced out with two runners in scoring position.
Rodriguez and Guillen hit RBI singles in the eighth to make it 9-5, but the Indians got two back in their half.
- Those 1891 Browns followed five- and six-run first innings against the Cincinnati Porkers with five against the Columbus Colts.
- Cleveland's pitchers recorded a season-high 14 strikeouts.
- Remarkably, the Tigers have gained 45 1/2 games against the Indians in the standings since the end of last season. Detroit finished 2005 with a 71-91 record, 22 games behind second-place Cleveland (93-69).
- Indians C-1B Victor Martinez was scratched from the starting lineup because of a sore left big toe he injured Sunday when he fouled a ball off his foot.
- The Tigers have hit 103 homers at Jacobs Field since 1994 -- the most by any visiting team.
- Rodriguez has a 14-game hitting streak.