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Fick delivers key single in Tigers' victory

5/18/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- Juan Acevedo was about the only reliever not to
blow a lead Saturday -- just barely.

Robert Fick hit a tiebreaking RBI single with two outs in the
eighth inning and Acevedo ended the game by getting Rafael Palmeiro
to fly to the warning track as the Detroit Tigers beat the Texas
Rangers 8-7 Saturday.

"That certainly wasn't boring," Tigers manager Luis Pujols
said. "It is great to see us keep coming back like that."

Palmeiro, who hadn't played since Sunday because of a strained
calf, pinch hit with two outs in the ninth and the tying run on
first. He drove the ball deep into the gap in right-center gap, but
Wendell Magee caught it at the track.

"I hit that ball as well as I can hit one," Palmeiro said.
"It's just too big out there. Now I know why Juan (Gonzalez) had
such trouble playing here -- and he's twice as strong as I am."

Both teams blew late-inning leads as the Tigers picked up their
second straight win after a seven-game losing streak.

Detroit trailed 7-6 heading into the eighth, but rookie Ramon
Santiago drove in the tying run with his third hit of the game,
then stole second and scored on Fick's single to right-center.

Santiago only played nine games in Triple-A before his promotion
on Friday, but has four hits in his first two games.

"It's a big jump, but this is what I have been working for all
along," he said.

Pujols was amazed by his 22-year-old shortstop, who added a
double and triple.

"They told me that he would give us a lot of energy, and he
has," he said. "He can really run -- he stole that base easily in
the eighth."

Rudy Seanez (0-3) took the loss for Texas, while Julio Santana
(2-0) got the win. Acevedo pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Texas starter Chan Ho Park allowed five runs and seven hits in 6
1-3 innings. Detroit's Steve Sparks allowed five runs -- two earned
_ in seven innings, a week after giving up seven runs in 1 1-3
innings in Texas.

Texas jumped on Sparks for four in the first. With one out, Mike
Young singled and Alex Rodriguez walked. Young moved to third on a
flyout and scored when Sparks balked.

After Simon's error, Herbert Perry followed with a two-run
double and Todd Greene made it 4-0 with a RBI single.

"I think I let the balk get to me a little," Sparks said.
"After that, I tried to relax and throw the knuckler a little
slower. That seemed to help."

The Tigers came back with two in their half of the inning on
Dmitri Young's two-run double, and made it 4-3 on Simon's RBI
single in the third.

Texas moved the lead back to two runs in the fourth on
Rodriguez's looping RBI single to center.

Detroit went ahead 6-5 in the seventh. Matt Walbeck led off with
a double off Gonzalez's glove in right field and scored on
Santiago's triple.

One out later, Jerry Narron brought in John Rocker. Fick, who
homered off Rocker on Friday, tied the game with a sacrifice fly to
deep center.

Bobby Higginson and Young followed with singles off Rocker, and
Simon hit a dribbler between first and second to drive in the
go-ahead run.

"They got a broken-bat hit and a seeing-eye single," Rocker
said. "I guess I just don't have the stuff to get those guys out
any more."

Matt Anderson came in for the eighth for his first appearance
since going on the disabled list April 27 with shoulder stiffness,
but couldn't hold the lead.

Anderson walked Perry, then allowed a hit-and-run single to
Greene. After pinch-runner Calvin Murray stole second, Gabe Kapler
fouled off three two-strike pitches before tying the game with a
single to right.

Rookie Jason Romano, hitless in 13 career at-bats, hit a
sacrifice fly to put Texas ahead and chase Anderson.

"He's here to pitch, or we wouldn't have activated him,"
Pujols said. "He's not going to get back to where he was unless he
pitches. I'm not going to second-guess myself."

Game notes
The game was played in off-and-on rain with temperatures
near 50. ... The teams combined for five errors on the wet field,
including three by the Tigers. Detroit gave up three unearned runs,
and has allowed a major league-leading 33 this year. ... Highlights
of the Red Wings-Avalanche game, played at nearby Joe Louis Arena,
were shown on the scoreboard during pitching changes. ...
Anderson's blown save was his second -- he still has not recorded a
save for the season. ... Rocker's ERA is now 7.53 in 17
appearances.