Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 4/23)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 22
in 11
Game 2: Wednesday, April 23
Game 3: Thursday, April 24

Tigers 4

(2-17, 1-10 away)

Athletics 1

(11-10, 8-3 home)

    10:05 PM ET, April 23, 2003 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 000200020 4 7 0
    OAK 000000010 1 3 0

    W: J. Bonderman (1-3)

    L: B. Zito (3-2)

    S: M. Anderson (2)

    Detroit's Bonderman earns first major league win

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- It'd be difficult to invent tougher circumstances than the ones Jeremy Bonderman faced on Wednesday night -- and afterward, he couldn't really explain how he overcame them for his first major league win.

    Bonderman retired 17 straight batters as the Detroit Tigers got their second victory in 19 games, beating the Oakland Athletics 4-1.

    Just how unlikely was Bonderman's spectacular eight-inning performance?

    He had an 0-3 record and a 10.22 ERA entering his fourth major league start on the road for the worst team in baseball. The 20-year-old rookie was facing the elite A's, who traded him last year.

    Last but not least, the opposing pitcher was AL Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito, who loses at home about once a year.

    "Zito is an unbelievable pitcher, one of the best, but I'm not going to be scared of him," Bonderman said. "I was on my game and threw the ball well. I hope we take this into the next game. ... You take every game seriously and want to win every game. I'm just happy we were successful."

    Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer off Zito (3-2) for the Tigers, whose only other win was 4-3 over the Chicago White Sox on April 12. The team is still off to the worst 19-game start in club history, but nobody cared in the Tigers' clubhouse, where Detroit manager Alan Trammell sipped a victory beer for the first time all season.

    "I could get used to this," Trammell said. "It's still April, and this is one win, but now I'd like to win tomorrow and win a series. ... Regardless of our record, we haven't played that bad. We haven't had a whole lot of leads."

    Bonderman (1-3), traded to the Tigers by Oakland last year, was nearly unhittable as Detroit stopped its eight-game losing streak by beating Zito, who lost for just the second time in his last 32 starts at the Coliseum.

    Bonderman allowed three hits and didn't walk a batter, striking out five. After consecutive singles by Jermaine Dye and Terrence Long in the second, Bonderman retired every batter he faced until Long's one-out triple in the eighth. Ramon Hernandez drove home Long with a groundout.

    "There's not much we're going to do when you only get three hits," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. "(Bonderman) got ahead throwing strikes. His fastball was moving. We knew he was a good pitcher."

    Bonderman, once rated the A's top pitching prospect, was part of the three-team trade that sent Jeff Weaver to the Yankees and brought Ted Lilly to Oakland.

    Matt Anderson, the least-used closer in baseball, pitched the ninth for his second save. He wasn't sharp, but Bobby Higginson reached over the right field fence to steal a two-run homer from Scott Hatteberg.

    Monroe hit his fourth career homer in the fourth inning, a two-run drive to deep center in the cavernous Coliseum. He had gone 1-for-12 this season since last Friday's callup to the Tigers, who claimed him off waivers from Texas in February.

    Zito wasn't sharp, allowing five hits in seven innings and walking the bases loaded in the second. His previous home loss also was against Detroit, when Mark Redman outpitched him last Aug. 2.

    "If I did my job correctly, we'd have probably walked out of here with a win," Zito said. ``(Relaxing against a losing team) is a trap that a lot of guys fall into, to let up. But these guys are big league hitters.

    "There's a sting because I gave up some runs and made some bad pitches. They're off to a bad start, but that doesn't mean they're not capable of beating a big-league team."

    Dean Palmer added a two-run double against reliever Jim Mecir in the eighth for the Tigers, who won a road game for the first time in 11 tries this season.

    The top of the third inning had no scoring, but plenty of entertainment value. First, Terrence Long slid to catch Higginson's fly to left, juggling it three times with both hands before finally corralling it.

    Zito then made a diving catch on Eugene Kingsale's bunt, and Craig Paquette was later called out at first base even though Hatteberg's foot might have come off the bag, sparking an argument from Trammell.

    Game notes
    The Tigers had lost six straight to Oakland. ... Before the game, Oakland activated Mecir, who had offseason knee surgery. LHP Micah Bowie, who was struggling, was designated for assignment. ... Monroe started in left field because Trammell benched struggling infielders Eric Munson and Carlos Pena. Dmitri Young, the regular left fielder, took over for Munson at third base.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press