DETROIT (AP) -- Until this week, Alex Rodriguez was not a big fan
of Comerica Park.
But after a game-winning homer on Monday and another big night
Tuesday, he's starting to miss Tiger Stadium a little less.
Rodriguez hit a three-run homer and tripled, leading the Texas
Rangers to their seventh straight win, 5-4 over the Detroit Tigers.
"I've always enjoyed playing in Detroit -- I think it is a great
baseball town with great fans," he said. "To be honest, I loved
the old stadium so much -- I'm not sure why. This is nice, but I was
always so comfortable at the old stadium."
Texas matched its longest winning streak of the season, set from
Detroit has lost seven straight and 11 of 12, falling a
franchise-worst 62 games under .500 at 31-93. The Tigers, 6-26
since the All-Star break, have had six losing streaks of seven or
more games this year and need to win five of their next 11 to avoid
losing 100 games before Sept. 1.
"We would hope we would get better by this point of the
season," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "But we are still
getting tight in clutch situations. We definitely had our
opportunities to win this one, but we shot ourselves in the foot
John Thomson (11-10) improved to 4-0 in his last six starts,
giving up four runs and 11 hits in eight-plus innings.
"I thought we got everything we could have asked for, and maybe
a little more," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "He was the
difference in this game."
Brian Shouse got three outs for his first career save. He
entered with a runner on first and allowed a single to pinch-hitter
Craig Monroe. Alex Sanchez then bunted into a forceout at third,
and Shouse struck out Ben Petrick and Bobby Higginson.
"I never dreamed about getting a save," Shouse said. "I'm
just glad I was the guy Buck wanted out there. The bunt was a big
play, and it happened from there. Hopefully, I'll be out there
Mike Maroth (6-18) lost for the fifth time in six starts, giving
up four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He
is the first pitcher with 18 losses by Aug. 19 since Clyde Wright
and Randy Jones in 1974.
"This isn't easy -- I don't want people to know me only for the
number of losses I have," he said. "But I want to get better, and
the only way I'm going to do that is to keep pitching."
Maroth did impress his toughest opponent on Tuesday.
"You have to give Mike credit -- he's got good stuff and he's
not afraid to challenge hitters," Rodriguez said. "That's why I
think he'll be a big winner in the majors."
Texas went ahead in the first when Rodriguez tripled off the
420-foot sign in center and scored on Rafael Palmeiro's two-out
Petrick's homer tied the score in the bottom half, one pitch
after Sanchez was caught stealing at second. Higginson followed
with a single but was thrown out by left fielder Jason Jones trying
to stretch the hit into a double.
Texas took a 4-1 lead in the third after Michael Young singled
and first baseman Carlos Pena booted Hank Blalock's grounder for an
error. Rodriguez followed with a 423-foot homer down the left-field
line, giving him two homers and a triple in his last three at-bats.
"He's a great player, and he's going to get his homers and hits
-- he's proven that through the years," Maroth said. "I threw the
pitch exactly where I wanted it, and he made an adjustment and hit
it out. That's what I need to learn -- I have to figure out when
guys are making adjustments like that, and how to stop them."
Pena hit an RBI groundout in the bottom half, and Higginson's
run-scoring single in the fifth pulled Detroit to 4-3.
Thomson's start on Tuesday was his third against the Tigers
in a span of eight days. He started against Detroit on Aug. 11, but
left after just 1 2-3 innings because of rain and started again
three days later. ... Rodriguez's first-inning triple was his
1,500th career hit. He is the youngest to reach that plateau since
Robin Yount did it in 1983. ... Petrick's three runs matched his
career high, set with Colorado against St. Louis on June 8, 2001.
... Brandon Inge's ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak
to a career-high 12 games.