Hall's 2-run homer lifts slumping Brewers past Tigers

Brewers 3, Tigers 2

DETROIT (AP) -- Bill Hall has refused to let an unhittable pitcher or a late-game deficit stop him in Detroit.

Hall's go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning Wednesday night sent the Milwaukee Brewers to a 3-2 victory over the Tigers.

Hall hit doubles in his two previous at-bats, one night after walking in each of his three plate appearances against Justin Verlander, who threw a no-hitter in the series opener.

"There's nothing they can get by me when I'm relaxed at the plate," said Hall, who also scored in the sixth inning on Damian Miller's RBI groundout.

Fernando Rodney (1-5) was a strike away from getting through the eighth with a 2-1 lead, but Hall drove a full-count pitch over the left-field fence with Prince Fielder aboard after a one-out single.

A year after Detroit's bullpen was a key to the franchise reaching the World Series for the first time since 1984, five relievers have combined to blow 12 of 32 save opportunities.

"There's nothing to do," manager Jim Leyland said. "You got what you got."

Rodney, who went on the disabled list last month with biceps tendinitis, insisted he's healthy and that his 1-2 pitch should've been a called strike to get him out of the inning.

"[I] hope to come back and do the job like last year," said Rodney, one of baseball's top setup men last season.

Milwaukee's bullpen, meanwhile, came through to make the comeback possible.

Chris Spurling (1-0) didn't give up a hit while getting two outs in the seventh. Derrick Turnbow pitched the eighth and Francisco Cordero earned his major league-leading 23rd save in 25 chances.

Chris Capuano was scratched from his scheduled start because he strained his left groin during warmups. He was replaced by Carlos Villanueva, who gave Milwaukee a shot to win with five effective innings.

"Vill was the only guy ready to throw," manager Ned Yost said. "I was hoping we could get him through three, but we were able to get five."

Villanueva said he was filling a bag with candy to munch on in the bullpen when he was told he was starting.

"I thought they were joking at first," he said. "When I got to the dugout and people started staring at me, I knew they were serious."

Villanueva allowed one run and five hits before being replaced by Matt Wise, who gave up a run and three hits in one-plus inning.

Until Hall's hit quieted 37,000-plus fans, the Tigers maintained the buzz at Comerica Park a night after Verlander's no-hitter.

Curtis Granderson hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Magglio Ordonez had an RBI single in the fourth and Mike Maroth gave up only one run over seven innings.

The NL Central-leading Brewers wouldn't go away, however, and ended up winning for just the 11th time in 31 games.

Slick defensive plays limited Detroit to just two runs on its 11 hits.

"It was a full-team win, a game where we had to scratch and claw," Yost said. "It's big, especially after last night."

Game notes
The Brewers were the last team in the majors to use just five starters until Villanueva became their sixth. ... Granderson extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games with a double in the fifth. ... Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (right wrist tendinitis) is eligible to come off the DL Thursday and said he hoped to be activated, but Yost doesn't expect him to play right away. ... Spurling was in the Tigers' organization from 2003-06. ... Detroit left-hander Kenny Rogers is set to make his second rehab start, Friday at Class-A Michigan. "I hope I'm back after that, but you never know," said Rogers, who hasn't pitched for the Tigers this season after having surgery to remove a blood clot in his shoulder. ... Detroit shortstop Carlos Guillen, who has been out with an injured right hamstring since Sunday, said he is improving but did not know when he would return. Leyland said he wasn't available to pinch-hit in the ninth and probably won't play until the next series, at Philadelphia. ... The Tigers had some success getting seagulls off the field with a noisemaker and dogs.