Granderson, Robertson lift Tigers past struggling Cubs

CHICAGO (AP) -- He grew up in the suburbs and went to college in Chicago. On Friday, Curtis Granderson got a friendly welcome to the confines.

With a large contingent of family and friends watching his first game at Wrigley Field, he doubled, tripled and scored twice to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 5-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"I never played at this ballpark," Granderson said. "It was definitely exciting to have the chance."

Granderson, who was raised in Lynwood, Ill., and played at the University of Illinois-Chicago, reached base in his first four at-bats and drove in a run. He led off the game with a bloop double down the left-field line, tripled off the wall in right-center in the second inning and walked twice.

Marcus Thames led off the second inning with his 13th home run to extend his hitting streak to nine games.

Nate Robertson (7-3) pitched seven effective innings, allowing two runs and five hits as the AL Central-leading Tigers won for the seventh time in nine games. The Cubs lost their fourth in a row.

Todd Jones worked a perfect ninth for his 18th save in 21 opportunities.

Chicago's Henry Blanco, starting at catcher while Michael Barrett's appeal of a suspension was heard, had an RBI single in the second and hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth.

Aramis Ramirez greeted Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya with a solo shot with one out in the eighth.

Robertson's slider wasn't working early on and his changeup was "awful." He kept his fastball down, though, and his teammates gave him an early lead.

The Tigers jumped on Glendon Rusch (2-7), pounding out four runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings -- his shortest start of the season.
Detroit hit five balls at least as far as the warning track, including Ivan Rodriguez's sacrifice fly in the first and Thames' homer.

Granderson's double leading off the game broke an 0-for-9 slump, and Placido Polanco doubled to deep center, just beyond Juan Pierre. Granderson stopped at third but came home on Rodriguez's sacrifice fly to the track in center. Magglio Ordonez then drove in Polanco with a single.

The Tigers resumed the beating in the second.

Thames homered for a 3-0 lead and Chris Shelton followed with a double off the right-field wall, drawing loud boos from the Cubs' fans and a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild. Brandon Inge
then knocked the ball just foul beyond the left-field wall before popping out.

Granderson tripled to the wall in right-center with two out, driving Shelton home and Rusch out of the game. Rookie Angel Guzman
relieved and struck out Polanco to end the inning.

Guzman kept the Cubs in the game by striking out a season-high eight and allowing one run in 5 1/3 innings.

Rusch, meanwhile, saw his ERA rise from 7.29 to 7.80 in his third start since returning to the rotation from the bullpen. There was no movement on his ball, no mystery.

The Cubs were hoping Mark Prior would make his first start Sunday, but there was no announcement on his status before the game
-- or that of Barrett, who had his appeal of a 10-game suspension for punching the White Sox's A.J. Pierzynski heard. Barrett hurt his back swinging in Thursday's game against Houston, and manager Dusty Baker said that was why he was not in the lineup.

General manager Jim Hendry noted the hearing lasted about 2 hours and ended around 12:20 p.m.

"There was no way of knowing what time he'd get out of there," said Hendry, who attended the hearing. "I don't think he would have had proper time to prepare no matter what."

Barrett said about the hearing: "It's interesting how all that works. I felt like I was on trial today. It's not something I want to get used to."

Prior, coming back from a shoulder strain, threw in the bullpen before Friday's game. The right-hander allowed one unearned run and four hits while striking out 10 in 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Iowa at New Orleans on Tuesday night. He also made two rehab starts at
Single-A and one at Double-A.

"It would be better if he [pitched] on Sunday," Baker said before the game. "That would give guys a much-needed extra day's rest."

Game notes
Tigers manager Jim Leyland had Vance Wilson pinch-hit for Rodriguez in the ninth because the veteran's legs cramped. ... Right fielder Jacque Jones robbed Thames of an extra-base hit leading off the eighth with a leaping catch against the right-field wall. ... Ramirez's homer broke a string of 15 scoreless innings for Zumaya.