Damon keys early rally to help Tigers upend Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Johnny Damon drove in two runs and scored twice for the Detroit Tigers in their 8-4 victory over Texas. He was just standing there and watching, however, on the wild play that put them ahead to stay.

Damon was batting with two outs in the fourth inning when Scott Feldman threw a slider in the dirt. Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago scored on the wild pitch when the ball ricocheted off the brick-facade backstop up the third-base line.

"Santiago was heads-up. There were two outs, I had two strikes, and we had to take a chance," Damon said. "Anytime you can add easy runs, it's a much easier job. Santiago did exactly what he needed to do, which was push the issue."

Raburn scored from third and Santiago kept coming from second, sliding in safely for a 5-4 lead when catcher Taylor Teagarden dropped Michael Young's toss for an error.

Damon then walked, and Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch had consecutive RBI hits to make it 8-4.

"Just a horrible job by me. The guys came out and put up four real quick and I let them right back in the game," Feldman said. "Nobody to blame but myself. Bad execution all night."

Texas had a 4-0 lead before Damon hit a two-run double and then scored on a groundout by Ordonez in the third. Damon extended his hitting streak to 11 games and has reached base in 14 straight (18 hits, 11 walks) since an 0-for-14 stretch.

Feldman (1-2) allowed eight runs, four earned, and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked four and had only one strikeout.

Eddie Bonine (2-0) pitched three scoreless innings while allowing just one hit in relief of spot starter Brad Thomas, who gave up four runs in three innings.

Joel Zumaya tossed two scoreless innings and Jose Valverde pitched the ninth, giving Tigers relievers a 23-inning stretch over seven games in which they have allowed only one earned run.

"It could have got ugly," Damon said. "But we scored some runs to get back in the game and then put it away. ... You have to give all the credit to our bullpen."

Thomas started in place of Dontrelle Willis, scratched because of an upset stomach. It was Thomas' sixth major league start, but the Australian left-hander's first since 2001 for Minnesota. He pitched in South Korea the last two seasons and was in Japan from 2005-06.

"Thomas didn't let it get totally out of hand, then the offense came up with some big innings," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's a good win like that when you lose a pitcher and scrap like that when you're short in the bullpen."

Feldman had been scheduled to start the series opener Friday night, but was pushed back to have extra time to recover from a stomach virus. The right-hander, a 17-game winner last season, has struggled in consecutive starts after going seven innings in each of his first two.

"For a while, I thought we were about to blow that game open," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Feldman just didn't have his command."

Vladimir Guerrero led the Rangers with three hits and three RBIs.

After consecutive one-out singles by Young and Josh Hamilton in the first, Tigers rookie center fielder Austin Jackson misplayed Guerrero's liner into a two-run double. The ball went over Jackson's head after he initially took a step in, though he retrieved it in time to throw out Guerrero at third.

Jackson made a spectacular play in the seventh when he ran down Young's deep drive in the gap, leaped and extended his glove to make the catch. That provided a nice highlight for about 200 friends and family members from his hometown in nearby Denton who were at the game.

Leyland originally planned to give Jackson the night off, but changed his mind after hearing how many people were going to be there to watch him. Jackson had two hits but also struck out twice.

Elvis Andrus, the second-year shortstop who is the focus of a weekend of promotions at Rangers Ballpark, had two hits on the night that Andrus bobblehead dolls were given out to fans. His run-scoring single in the second inning made him 6 for 8 this season with runners in scoring position -- after hitting the winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth Friday night.

Game notes
Cabrera, who has reached base in 17 of the last 18 games, had a pair of doubles and his AL-leading 22nd RBI. ... Santiago entered at shortstop in the third after Adam Everett strained his right hamstring. ... Teagarden got his first hit of the season, snapping an 0-for-22 skid, when he was credited with a single on a ball that short-hopped 2B Raburn and went into the outfield.