DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers' big-name offense finally came through with some big-time hits.
Edgar Renteria hit a grand slam to cap the Tigers' six-run eighth inning to help Detroit end a four-game losing streak with a 8-4 win over the Cleveland Indians."The offense hung in there, and got us some big, big hits at the end," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "We were finally able to close one out."The Tigers made a splash in the offseason, adding slugger Miguel Cabrera and ace Dontrelle Willis to send a their star-studded payroll up to nearly $139 million. But Detroit is 11 games below .500 even after today's triumph, closer to the last-place Royals in the AL Central standings than the similarly disappointing Indians, who are third after winning the division a year ago.Cleveland has been let down by poor hitting and a shaky bullpen, the latter of which was particularly noticeable on Saturday.Marcus Thames homered on Masa Kobayashi's first pitch of the eighth, tying the game at 3."That was big, because it gave us a spark," Thames said. "Everyone got pumped up a little after that."Two pitches later, Magglio Ordonez doubled, bringing Rafael Betancourt out of the bullpen, but the former star continued his season-long struggles. Cabrera hit a line drive to left that seemed to fool Ben Francisco, sailing over his glove for an RBI single."A line drive right at you is the hardest play to make," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "I'm sure he didn't realize how hard it was hit, and stayed higher than he expected."Carlos Guillen singled and a sacrifice put runners on second and third. Brandon Inge was intentionally walked, and Ryan Raburn struck out before Renteria hit his sixth career grand slam."That was a huge hit by Cabrera and an even bigger one by Renteria," Leyland said.Zach Miner (3-3) pitched two innings in relief of starter Kenny Rogers. Todd Jones got the final out for his ninth save.Kobayashi (3-3) lost for Cleveland, which fell to 4-5 on an 11-game road trip.The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the second when Cabrera misplayed Franklin Gutierrez's grounder at first and Kelly Shoppach hit a ground-rule double.Carlos Guillen tied the game in the fourth with a two-run homer off starter Aaron Laffey, but a throwing error by Rogers set up Ryan Garko's go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth."It was good to see us come back from 3-2 down," said Rogers, who allowed three runs -- one earned -- in seven innings. "Marcus hitting that homer was huge, and that just ignited us. That's what our offense can do."Laffey gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings, one start after giving up eight to Texas."I needed this, because it helps me put the Texas game behind me," Laffey said. "I don't have to keep thinking about that."Detroit put runners on second and third with two out in the bottom of the seventh before Kobayashi retired Placido Polanco, but he couldn't get through the eighth."We've got to iron out our bullpen," Wedge said. "We've got to find a way to get from our starter to our closer."Wedge was particularly disappointed with Betancourt, whose ERA rose to 7.27."That's a guy we need -- we have to get him going somehow," he said. "We know what he is capable of doing -- we saw it last year, and we need to help him find his way back."
Both teams lost key members of their starting rotation for the season before the game. Cleveland's Jake Westbrook will need Tommy John surgery after tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, while Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman had a blood clot in his pitching shoulder and needed angioplasty Saturday morning. The Tigers had Bonderman's jersey hanging in the dugout during the game. ... Renteria has had bigger hits against Cleveland: His single in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7 won the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins. ... Kris Draper and Brian Rafalski of the Detroit Red Wings threw out simultaneous first pitches after placing the Stanley Cup on the grass near the mound.