Ordonez ends 40-game homer drought in Tigers' win

DETROIT -- Maybe the slump was in his hair.

Magglio Ordonez ended a career-long drought without a homer by connecting on a go-ahead shot, leading the Detroit Tigers over the Chicago Cubs 6-5 Thursday for their seventh straight victory.

"It was huge for us," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.

It had to be big for Ordonez, too, but the quiet player didn't talk to reporters after ending his 40-game skid without a homer.

Ordonez had two hits Wednesday night in his first game since cutting his flowing locks, which are now being auctioned off on eBay for charity.

"If I had hair like that, I'd still be single," Leyland joked.

The six-time All-Star and 2007 AL batting champion was benched for almost a week before going hitless Tuesday in the series opener against the Cubs.

Ordonez, whose two-run homer was in the fourth, bounced back with three hits in two games and is batting .274 with three homers and 24 RBIs.

"I know Magglio. I know what he can do," Miguel Cabrera said about his teammate and fellow Venezuelan. "I know how hard he works. I don't worry about him."

The AL Central leaders closed a road trip by beating St. Louis and swept a pair of three-game series against Chicago and Milwaukee to match their longest winning streak of the season.

The Tigers are 23-11 at Comerica Park for their best 34-game mark in Detroit since the 1984 world championship team had the same start at home.

"We're playing pretty good, but it's June 25th so I'm not getting excited about that," Leyland said.

Armando Galarraga (4-7) gave up four runs over six innings and won for the first time since April 26, ending a career-long, seven-game losing skid.

Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth to earn his 16th save in as many chances, extending the longest streak by a Detroit pitcher since Todd Jones saved 19 straight games in 2006.

Rodney, though, made it interesting by giving up a leadoff homer to Micah Hoffpauir to cut Detroit's lead to one and allowing a two-out double to Kosuke Fukudome. Rodney struck out pinch-hitter Geovany Soto to end it.

"I feel comfortable because I'm getting a chance to be the closer," Rodney said.

Ted Lilly (7-5) allowed six runs and 10 hits -- matching a career high -- in six innings and lost for the first time in a month. He gave up homers to Ordonez and Ramon Santiago.

"They hit some home runs, and when Ted isn't pitching well, that's usually his bugaboo," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.

Chicago's Jake Fox hit his first homer in the majors, a three-run shot in the first, in his 23rd career game.

"That's going to my dad," Fox said of the keepsake. "It was great to get my first one out of the way. I think I was pressing a little in order to get one. That's probably why I had a big day after I hit it."

Fox finished with a career-high three hits.

"It was refreshing to see Fox go up there and powder the ball," Piniella said. "We need more of that."

Game notes
Soto says he is embarrassed after testing positive for marijuana at this year's World Baseball Classic. ... Ordonez, who hadn't homered since April 27, went 32 games without clearing the fences last season. ... The Cubs took OF Milton Bradley out of the lineup, but Piniella said "call it a day off," seemingly to play down the decision. ... Cubs INF Aaron Miles (elbow) was injured in a batting cage and will be evaluated Friday. ... Piniella has no problem with a coach from Japan visiting previously slumping Fukudome. "We can bring in the whole Japanese hitting academy if it's going to help him hit," Piniella said. ... Cubs 1B Derrek Lee snapped his career-high 21-game hitting streak. ... Galarraga has given up a homer in 11 straight games, the longest streak by a Detroit starter since Bill Gullickson in 1994. ... Santiago's first home from the right side of the plate gave him five overall this season, setting a career high.