Tigers 9, Rockies 7

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DETROIT (AP)—Warren Morris and Kevin Witt spent the first two months of the season as two of the best hitters on Detroit’s top minor league team.

Saturday, they showed they can play the same role in the majors.

Morris and Witt combined for seven hits and Eric Munson hit a go-ahead three-run homer as the Detroit Tigers snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 9-7 win over the Colorado Rockies.

“Kevin and I called ourselves the Knothole Gang in spring training, because we only played late in the games,” said Morris, who went 4-for-5. “It felt great that the two of us were able to produce like this up here. It has been a while since I’ve had a chance to prove myself in the big leagues.”

The teams have split the first two games of the series. The Rockies have not won a road series this year, while the Tigers have not won one at home.

“Tomorrow is a big game now,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “Someone is finally going to break their streak. It’s hard to believe we are still talking about this in mid-June, but here we are.”

With Colorado leading 5-4, Witt and Craig Monroe led off the sixth inning with singles, chasing Colorado starter Scott Elarton. Munson then hit Justin Speier’s third pitch into the right-field bullpen for his seventh homer of the season.

“We put enough runs on the board tonight to get something than what obviously happened,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We just didn’t pitch well enough overall. Speier makes one bad pitch, Munson puts a good swing on it, and that’s a big point in the ballgame. In this league, to get opportunities to win, you have to pitch well off the mound.”

The Tigers matched season highs in runs and hits (15).

“This felt really good—we haven’t had a game like this all year,” Munson said. “Warren had four hits and Witty had three and just about everyone did something. I just hope this can carry over into tomorrow.”

The Tigers added two runs in the seventh off Javier Lopez on Witt’s RBI single and a run-scoring groundout by Monroe.

Wil Ledezma (2-2) pitched three innings for Detroit.

Rookie Chris Spurling got the final out for his third save in four opportunities.

Elarton (3-2) lost for the first time in four starts as he allowed six runs on eight hits and two walks in five-plus innings. Three of the runs came with two outs.

“I’ve worked on a little bit different delivery between starts, and I just fell in and out of rhythm tonight,” he said. “I should go out there and beat that team. Nothing against these guys—they did a great job tonight—but if I command the strike zone like I should, I would have had a lot more success.”

Detroit starter Mike Maroth ended up with a no-decision and is still 1-11. He pitched five innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk.

Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the first on Todd Helton’s sacrifice fly, but the Tigers went ahead with two runs in the second.

A pair of walks left Detroit with runners on the corners and two outs. Brandon Inge ended an 0-for-10 slump with an RBI single to center, and Omar Infante put the Tigers ahead with a run-scoring base hit.

Colorado tied the game at 2 on Jose Hernandez’s leadoff homer in the third, but the Tigers regained the lead in the bottom half when Morris singled, took third on Dmitri Young’s single and scored on Witt’s two-out double.

For the second inning in a row, though, Maroth couldn’t hold the lead. Preston Wilson led off the fourth with a single, took third on Larry Walker’s base hit and scored when Chris Stynes grounded into a forceout at second.

Detroit went back ahead when Morris homered for the first time since Sept. 20, 2001, but Colorado regained the lead with a pair of runs off Ledezma in the sixth to make it 5-4.

Wilson started the inning with a walk, and with two outs, Greg Vaughn launched a 404-foot homer that easily cleared the old, deeper fence in left field.

Charles Johnson hit a two-run homer off Franklyn German in the ninth to make it 9-7.

Notes

Colorado’s leadoff hitter reached base in each of the first four innings. … The Tigers have turned 15 inning-ending double plays in the last 12 games, including four in two games against Colorado. … Colorado catcher Johnson played in his 1,000th game. … Infante’s second-inning RBI was just his third in 26 games. … Morris started his Tigers career in a 1-for-13slump.

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