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Detroit (66-53) «00000110046140
Cleveland (65-54)2000000000260

Ordonez's three-run shot in 10th lifts Tigers past rival Indians

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CLEVELAND -- Sliding on his belly, Curtis Granderson's only concern was showing the umpires that the ball had fallen into his outstretched glove before denting a blade of outfield grass.

"I knew it was real close," he said.

Just like the AL Central.

Granderson's diving grab in the eighth inning kept it tied and Magglio Ordonez hit a three-run homer in Detroit's four-run 10th as the Tigers moved one game ahead of Cleveland in the up-for-grabs division with a 6-2 win over the Indians on Tuesday night.

For at least another 24 hours or so, the Tigers, who have been staggering around for weeks, are on top by themselves.

"Don't get excited about the showdown," Detroit manager Jim Leyland warned. "It's only August 14th. I'm not jumping up and down. If we lose tomorrow, we'll be right back where we started."

Ordonez's 22nd homer, a shot to left off Joe Borowski (2-5), broke it open for the Tigers, who began the two-game series missing two regulars because of the flu and had been playing lately as if their whole roster had come down with something.

Granderson, who wasn't in Leyland's original lineup, saved the Tigers with a catch that could become more memorable as the season progresses.

With the score 2-2, two runners on and two outs, Cleveland's Travis Hafner, back after missing four games because of a sore knee, hit a soft liner toward the gap in left-center that looked like it would drop in for an RBI single.

But Granderson sprinted over and snatched the ball backhanded just above the ground with a head-first dive. As Granderson popped up, reliever Tim Byrdak raised his arms in triumph like a boxer who had just scored a late-round knockout.

"A lot of center fielders get talked about more, but he's one of the best," starter Jeremy Bonderman said. "He's the next up-and-coming thing."

Granderson, who had struck out three times against Indians starter C.C. Sabathia, walked to open the 10th and went to third on Ryan Raburn's bloop single. Gary Sheffield's RBI single gave Detroit a 3-2 lead.

Indians pitching coach Carl Willis made a quick visit to settle down Borowski. The right-hander made a mistake anyway as Ordonez ripped his first pitch over the wall in left to make it 6-2.

Fernando Rodney (2-5) struck the side in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double, and Todd Jones worked the 10th.

For several weeks, the Tigers have looked nothing like defending AL champions. Since the All-Star break, they're just 14-19. The Indians, though, have been worse, going 13-18 with an offense that can't hit.

Afterward, Cleveland manager Eric Wedge blasted his team.

"These guys have to dig deep," he said. "We're going to find how tough they are. It's easy to be tough when you're winning. When you're going good, you're going to get cheered. When you're going bad, you're going to get booed.

"That's where toughness comes in. We've got a couple of people who might be feeling sorry for themselves. I don't like that."

Wedge singled out Granderson's catch as an example of what the Indians need to be doing more of.

"They made the play," he said. "In these types of games at this time of year, you make the plays, you win."

Grady Sizemore hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Cleveland, which started the season 33-13 at home, has lost 13 of its last 17 at Jacobs Field.

The Tigers, who will play their next 12 games against the Indians (four) and the New York Yankees (eight), played perhaps their biggest game this season without second baseman Placido Polanco and outfielder Craig Monroe. Both came down with the flu, forcing Leyland to rearrange his lineup.

Wedge also adjusted his batting order, which could be described as sickly of late.

Kenny Lofton moved into the leadoff spot and Sizemore was dropped to third. But the change had little effect as the Indians recorded just six hits, and never strung two in a row together.

"That says it all right there," Wedge said.

Notes

  • Sizemore's 20th homer made him the fourth Cleveland player to have that many homers and 25 steals in the same season, joining Joe Carter (1986-88), Roberto Alomar (1999, 2001) and Bobby Bonds (1979).
  • The Tigers optioned RHP Yorman Bazardo to Toledo to make room for Jair Jurrjens, who will make his first major league start on Wednesday.
  • Despite being outspoken and critical of Yankees manager Joe Torre and former teammate Derek Jeter, Sheffield isn't fearing a negative reaction when he returns to New York later this week. "I know what kind of appreciation I get," said Sheffield, who spent three seasons with the Yankees before being traded. "Most people I bump into haven't forgotten what I've done. Sheff fans will be Sheff fans. That's how I look at it going in."
 
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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Magglio Ordonez (R), who puts the Tigers on the board in the sixth, wins it with a 3-run HR in the 10th.  (AP)
Magglio Ordonez (R), who puts the Tigers on the board in the sixth, wins it with a 3-run HR in the 10th. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

M. Ordonez
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
Cleveland

G. Sizemore
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF4100133 .294
Ryan Raburn, 2B5220011 .353
Gary Sheffield, DH5111011 .284
Magglio Ordonez, RF5134000 .359
Carlos Guillen, 1B5020011 .308
Ivan Rodriguez, C5010024 .278
Marcus Thames, LF5120000 .263
Omar Infante, SS4031100 .276
Brandon Inge, 3B5000045 .239
Totals436146212  
Batting
2B - Ryan Raburn (6, Sabathia), Ivan Rodriguez (24, Lewis), Marcus Thames (9, Sabathia), Omar Infante 2 (5, Sabathia, Lewis)
HR - Magglio Ordonez (22, Borowski)
RBI - Gary Sheffield (71), Magglio Ordonez 4 (108), Omar Infante (17)
Team LOB - 9
Detroit Tigers
Jeremy Bonderman 7422281 4.65
Tim Byrdak 1000220 3.38
Fernando Rodney (W,2-5) 1100030 4.59
Todd Jones 1100110 4.38
IBB - Nixon by Jeremy Bonderman
HBP - Blake (by Jeremy Bonderman)
WP - Todd Jones (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Bonderman 109-65, Tim Byrdak 24-11, Fernando Rodney 25-17, Todd Jones 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Bonderman 8-4, Todd Jones 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Bonderman 27, Tim Byrdak 5, Fernando Rodney 4, Todd Jones 5
Cleveland Indians
Kenny Lofton, LF3000000 .293
   a- Jason Michaels, PH-LF2010010 .271
Casey Blake, 3B2100200 .264
Grady Sizemore, CF3122200 .278
Victor Martinez, C5000035 .300
Travis Hafner, DH5010024 .253
Ryan Garko, 1B3010011 .307
    Chris Gomez, PR-1B1010000 .310
Jhonny Peralta, SS4000032 .273
Trot Nixon, RF2000100 .258
    Franklin Gutierrez, RF1000011 .280
Josh Barfield, 2B4000033 .243
Totals35262514  
a-struck out for Lofton in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Garko (21, Bonderman), Chris Gomez (11, Rodney)
HR - Grady Sizemore (20, Bonderman)
RBI - Grady Sizemore 2 (66)
CS - Grady Sizemore (8, 2nd base by Bonderman/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Grady Sizemore 1
Cleveland Indians
C.C. Sabathia 7722180 3.48
Rafael Betancourt 2100030 1.61
Joe Borowski (L,2-5) 0.1344101 5.67
Jensen Lewis 0.2300010 2.92
Pitches-Strikes - C.C. Sabathia 96-60, Rafael Betancourt 19-17, Joe Borowski 18-12, Jensen Lewis 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C.C. Sabathia 7-6
Batters Faced - C.C. Sabathia 29, Rafael Betancourt 7, Joe Borowski 5, Jensen Lewis 4
Game Information
Attendance - 37570
Game Time - 3:29
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Ed Hickox, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Ed Rapuano