Detroit (40-43) at Tampa Bay (27-59)

Thunderstorms Currently: St. Petersburg, FL, US
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Fri Jul 8, 2005
  • TV: FSD, FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Magglio Ordonez’s return is giving the Detroit Tigers hope.

The slugging outfielder looks to continue working his way back into form as the Tigers resume a four-game series with the hapless Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

Ordonez homered for the third time in a week since returning from the disabled list in the Tigers’ 6-4 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday. The right fielder had missed much of 2004 with the Chicago White Sox due to injuries, and two more months this year after signing a $75 million, five-year contract during the offseason.

The four-time All-Star was 0-for-10 in three games for the Tigers before going on the DL with a hernia on April 13. Since returning to the lineup ahead of schedule on July 1, he is hitting .261 (6-for-23) with six extra-base hits and eight RBIs in six games.

“He’s still not where he wants to be, but it looks like there’s going to be some good things to come,” said teammate Dmitri Young.

Detroit cather Ivan Rodriguez expects Ordonez’s emergence to provide a boost after the All-Star break.

“This team is going to be the biggest surprise in the second half, I’ll tell you that right now,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to be the team to talk (about).”

Chris Shelton added a two-run homer and Troy Percival worked a perfect ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances for Detroit, which played without Rodriguez. The 12-time All-Star is day to day with a left pinkie injury after jamming the finger sliding into home plate in Wednesday’s win at Cleveland.

Tampa Bay lost its season-high ninth in a row—its third longest slump under manager Lou Piniella.

“You guys come in every night wanting explanations,” Piniella told reporters. “It gets to the point that you’re out of explanations. All you want to do is see things done right and win a baseball game. … All we can do is keep working. Nothing more, nothing else. Keep working, try to get better.”

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Starting Pitchers

N. Robertson DET vs. S. Kazmir LAD
7-16 Record 10-9
4.48 ERA 3.77
122 K 174
65 BB 100
1.36 WHIP 1.46