Tigers prop up Central lead by piling 17 runs on O's

DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Tigers doubled their AL Central lead
Friday night.

Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer in an eight-run fourth
inning, Brandon Inge added a grand slam in the sixth and the
Detroit Tigers boosted their division lead to two games by routing
the Baltimore Orioles 17-2 Friday night.

"This was a fun day," said Craig Monroe, who homered and
scored three runs. "This proves that the bats haven't gone
anywhere. This season is a grind, and everyone is going to have a

Jeremy Bonderman (12-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in six
innings, striking out seven and walked two.

Detroit, which had 19 hits, scored more runs against the Orioles
than the Tigers totaled in their previous six games combined.
Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey both had two hits in the fourth
inning, and Guillen scored twice.

"This is important for this ballclub," Tigers manager Jim
Leyland said. "It was nice to see the offense break out, and
Jeremy got through it pretty well."

The Tigers entered with 17 losses in 25 games and the division
lead, which was 10 games before play on Aug. 8, was down to one
game. But the Twins lost to Cleveland 5-4 in 10 innings, and the
Tigers' offense broke out against Baltimore with its biggest inning
since scoring eight at Kansas City on May 24, 2004.

"It all starts over tomorrow," Leyland said. "We've got a
good pitcher going in Nate (Robertson), and they've got Kris
Benson, who has been pretty good."

Baltimore allowed its most runs since an 18-5 defeat to the New
York Yankees on May 27, 2004, and lost for the 13th time in 17

Bonderman had been 0-4 in nine starts since July 24.

"I felt really comfortable out there for the first time in a
while," he said. "Even in the bullpen before the game, I felt
like I was really driving to the plate."

Hayden Penn (0-3) was hit hard for the third straight start,
allowing seven runs, seven hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings --
his ERA dropped from 36.82 to 27.00 in his longest outing of the
season. Penn has started three times since Sept. 3 -- once each
against division leaders Oakland, New York and Detroit -- and
allowed 22 runs and 24 hits in 7 1-3 innings.

"I felt good," Penn said. "I just think I get a little out of
my mind-set and start trying to make perfect pitches instead of
good pitches. I'm still very confident on the mound. I still think
I belong here."

Baltimore left the bases loaded in the first when David Newhan
popped out.

With one out in the bottom half, Nick Markakis grabbed Ivan
Rodriguez's fly ball off the top of the right-field fence, but
Monroe followed with a line drive homer just over the same wall.

Detroit left the bases loaded in the second, then broke open the
game in the fourth. Marcus Thames hit an RBI groundout, Curtis
Granderson hit a run-scoring single, Ivan Rodriguez hit a
run-scoring double and Craig Monroe had an RBI single, with Newhan
making an error in left that let another run score when the ball
went off his glove.

"Hayden kept us in the ball game for three innings -- he threw a
bit better," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "In the fourth,
he just disintegrated. It turned fast. I think it's obvious that
he's better than this."

Russ Ortiz relieved and allowed Ordonez's homer, which made it
8-0, and Casey hit an RBI double.

Markakis homered in the fifth and Newhan in the sixth. It was
the first homer since Aug. 31 for Markakis -- who hit four in the
first four months of the season, then hit 10 in August.

Ordonez hit an RBI double in the sixth off Winton Abreu, who
walked pinch-hitter Matt Stairs -- claimed on waivers from Texas
earlier Friday -- with the bases loaded. Inge homered off Sendy
Rleal, and Granderson added a solo homer in the eighth.

"It wasn't very pretty," Perlozzo said. "We couldn't shut it

Game notes
Stairs homered against the Tigers on Wednesday. He arrived
at the stadium during the game and had only been in the dugout for
a few moments before hitting for Thames. "As soon as I got here,
Jim told me to get loose," he said. "That's why I'm here." ...
The teams combined to use 37 players.