Diamondbacks 8, Tigers 3

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DETROIT (AP)—Some major league teams begin to worry when they fall behind in the opening innings.

For the streaking Arizona Diamondbacks, it’s no big deal.

Friday night, the Diamondbacks overcame early deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to tie a franchise record with their ninth straight win, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers.

“In the last couple of weeks, it doesn’t matter if we take an early lead or we fall behind,” Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. “It’s a kind of consistent, ‘something good is going to happen,’ attitude that it seems like everyone on our bench has right now.”

Chad Moeller scored on a wild pitch to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh, then added an RBI single in the eighth for the Diamondbacks, who have had three other nine-game winning streaks, the most recent from August 10-19, 2001.

Arizona has gone 39-25 after a 3-11 start.

“Everything is just kind of going our way a little more right now,” Moeller said. “Early in the year, we had so many things that never went our way, but now more balls are falling in for us. To this team’s credit, everybody stayed focused on what is important.”

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first on Dmitri Young’s RBI triple and Kevin Witt’s sacrifice fly, but Arizona tied the game in the second on a two-run double by Lyle Overbay.

The Tigers regained the lead in the bottom of the inning when Matt Walbeck singled and scored on Alex Sanchez’s triple.

But Detroit starter Adam Bernero couldn’t hold that lead, either. In the third, he walked two batters before Finley’s single tied the game at 3.

Arizona went ahead to stay in the seventh with some help from a struggling Tigers pitching staff. With one out, Bernero walked Moeller and allowed a single to Tony Womack.

Franklyn German came out of the bullpen and walked Matt Kata on four pitches before uncorking the wild pitch that allowed Moeller to score. German has walked 19 batters in his last 19 innings and has six wild pitches this season.

“Franklyn is a young man with a lot of talent,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “The lack of command is a concern, but you have to expect that with the on-the-job training he is getting.”

Moeller’s single made it 5-3 in the eighth. Arizona added three more in the ninth on RBI singles by David Dellucci and Carlos Baerga, and a run-scoring groundout by Steve Finley.

The Tigers have lost seven in a row and 19 of 21. They are now a season-worst 41 games under .500 at 18-59.

“Surreal would be a good word for this,” Bernero said. “None of us could have ever guessed that this could happen to us. Baseball has been our whole lives, but none of us have experienced anything like this.”

Stephen Randolph (2-0) picked up his second career win with two shutout innings of relief.

“Early in the year, I think we would get a little worried when we got down, but now it is more relaxed,” Randolph said. “We know we can score and we know we can pitch. There is just a lot more confidence in the clubhouse.”

John Patterson started for Arizona and got a no-decision, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in five innings.

Bernero (1-11) fell to 0-5 in June, allowing four runs on six hits and four walks in 6 1-3 innings. He is one of three Detroit starters with at least 11 losses, joining Mike Maroth (2-12) and Jeremy Bonderman (2-11).

“I don’t know why this is happening,” Bernero said. “All I know is there is no excuse for the way I pitched tonight.”

Patterson got some help from his defense in the fifth, as second baseman Kata made a diving stop of Young’s grounder up the middle, then threw him out from the ground.

Mark Grace said that’s the best play he has ever seen by a second baseman, and he’s played with some pretty good ones,” Brenly said. “To get to the ball was an amazing play, and then he had to throw the ball off-balance before he even got to a knee and get something on the throw and have it accurate.” ^Notes: Moeller made a routine catch into a highlight-reel play in the second inning. Eric Munson’s foul popup bounced out of his glove, but the Arizona catcher was able to grab it with his bare hand before it hit the ground. … The Tigers are 6-30 at home. … Matt Walbeck struck out three times. …Tigers RF Bobby Higginson is hitting .179 with one homer in June.

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