For the first time this season the Detroit Tigers are not the worst team in baseball.
The Tigers hope their momentum continues as they attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium. Detroit has had the worst record in baseball since opening day after becoming the first major league team to have consecutive 0-9 starts.
The Tigers handed off their dubious distinction on Wednesday, beating the Padres 5-3 as pitcher Steve Avery had a pinch-hit single and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.
“Honestly, I’m not looking at that,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said of shedding baseball’s worst record. “We’re just playing better baseball. That’s what we have to worry about. We still have a long way to go.
“I’d rather catch Cleveland,” he said, referring to the fourth-place team in the AL Central.
The woeful Tigers beat the equally hapless Padres for the second straight night.
Dmitri Young homered for the second straight game, a solo shot with two outs in the eighth off Jesse Orosco that gave Detroit a 5-3 lead. Young hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the Tigers’ 3-2 win on Tuesday.
Tigers closer Franklyn German pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
Detroit (16-40) moved ahead of San Diego (17-43) by three percentage points for the worst record in baseball.
“We’re well aware of that,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s what happens when you play like we have. We’ve been leaving too many great opportunities. That’s why we’re at where we’re at.”
The Padres have been in a free-fall since late April, losing 30 of 37 games.
San Diego hopes to avoid a sweep as it sends struggling starter Adam Eaton to the mound.
Eaton has been terrible this season, especially at home. He has an 0-3 record with a 5.67 ERA at Qualcomm Stadium. The right-handed hurler is 0-3 with an 8.39 ERA over his last five starts.
STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 15 1/2 GB, AL Central. Padres - 5th place, 20 GB, NL West.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Adam Bernero (1-6, 5.67 ERA). The 26-year-old right-hander was 0-6 with a 6.03 ERA over his first 10 starts before earning his first win last time out. Bernero held the New York Yankees to two runs and three hits while striking out seven to earn a 4-2 win on Saturday. Detroit has lost 10 of the 11 games that Bernaro has started.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Eaton (1-4, 5.02 ERA). Eaton didn’t qualify for a decision in his last start. He gave up four runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings as San Diego defeated Arizona 8-7 on Saturday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Young, .279 avg., 11 HRs and 36 RBIs; Bobby Higginson, 30 runs and 5 SBs. Padres - Rondell White .300 avg.; White and Ryan Klesko, 10 HRs and 30 RBIs; Xavier Nady, 31 runs; Ramon Vazquez, 7 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Tigers - 2-0; Padres - 0-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - Detroit’s only sweep this season came against Baltimore on May 5-7. … OF Young has hit five of his 90 career home runs against San Diego … Detroit’s last seven wins have come by a total of nine runs. Padres - San Diego plans to activate CF Mark Kotsay from the 15-day disabled list before Thursday’s game. He’s been out since May 19 with a sprained lower back. … RHP Rod Beck made his first appearance Wednesday since 2001, getting one out. Beck, coming back from elbow surgery, was signed by the Padres on Monday. Beck is third among active pitchers with 266 career saves. … RHP Kevin Jarvis pitched eight innings in a rehab start Tuesday for Class A Lake Elsinore. He allowed one earned run and three hits.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 11-19 on the road; Padres - 10-22 at home.
INJURIES: Tigers - IF Dean Palmer (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Danny Patterson (elbow), 60-day DL. Padres - OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; OF Mark Kotsay (back), 15-day DL; RHP Clay Condrey (rib cage), 15-day DL; RHP Brandon Villafuerte (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Kevin Jarvis (elbow), 60-day DL; LHP Kevin Walker (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jay Witasick (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Phil Nevin (shoulder), 60-day DL.