Rockies' Neagle wins first of season

DENVER (AP) -- Denny Neagle came to grips with what it took to win.

Neagle pitched six-plus innings for his first victory of the year and Charles Johnson had a two-run single as the Colorado Rockies beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 Sunday.

Neagle went back to his old grip on the slider, to his benefit.

"I've had the grip the last two starts of my rehab assignment at Triple-A, more of a two-seam grip with a sweeping break than the cutter-type with a smaller break I've been throwing," Neagle said.

"It was my old grip and when I started using it our Triple-A pitching coach, Bob McClure, saw it and told me to use it more often."

Neagle spent the first 71 games on the disabled list with stiffness in his left elbow.

Neagle (1-1) allowed three runs and six hits, fanning six in 6 1/3 innings in his second start of the season. Neagle hadn't won since Sept. 4 at San Francisco.

"Denny gave us a good start," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "His command was much better, no walks, six strikeouts and he was happy to be able to contribute and got on a nice roll there
from innings three through six."

Todd Helton had two hits, including an RBI double. Chris Stynes drove in a run with two hits as Colorado won two of three from the Tigers.

Jose Jimenez pitched the ninth for his 17th save.

Adam Bernero (1-10) allowed five runs and six hits in six innings for Detroit.

Dmitri Young hit his 15th home run of the year as the Tigers lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"Adam competed today, very well the first inning to today he shouldn't have probably not given up any runs," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. "I thought he pitched very well today."

The Rockies led 3-0 after the first. Helton's opposite-field double drove in Jay Payton, who had reached on an infield single. One out later, Larry Walker hit an RBI single and scored from first when Alex Sanchez misplayed Chris Stynes' bloop double in short center.

Detroit scored in the second inning on Matt Walbeck's RBI double.

The Rockies loaded the bases in the third inning when Bernero hit Preston Wilson, Stynes singled and Mark Bellhorn drew a walk.

Johnson's one-out bloop single to right scored two runs to increase Colorado's lead to 5-1.

Neagle at one point retired 10 straight, but tired in the seventh inning when Young homered leading off the inning and Craig Monroe followed with a triple. Monroe scored on Ramon Santiago's
groundout to get the Tigers within 5-3.

"He threw a fastball low, just at the knees," Young said. "I was just looking to hit something. I had good swings against my old teammate Denny Neagle today."

The Tigers got a baserunner in the ninth when Jimenez walked Ramon Santiago with one out. But A.J. Hinch lined back to Jimenez, who threw to first to double up Santiago.

Trammell could only shake his head.

"You don't get any points for moral victories," he said.

Game notes
The Tigers optioned pitcher Gary Knotts to Triple-A Toledo and recalled pitcher Fernando Rodney after the game. ... Detroit OF Bobby Higginson did not start because of soreness to his left hamstring and lower back. Higginson pinch-hit and popped out. ... Santiago made his first start of the year at shortstop. ... Payton has a 10-game hitting streak. ... The Rockies signed their No. 3 pick, pitcher Aaron Marsden, and No. 11, outfielder John Restrepo.