Rangers 5, Tigers 4

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DETROIT (AP)—Until this week, Alex Rodriguez was not a big fan of Comerica Park.

But after a game-winning homer on Monday and another big night Tuesday, he’s starting to miss Tiger Stadium a little less.

Rodriguez hit a three-run homer and tripled, leading the Texas Rangers to their seventh straight win, 5-4 over the Detroit Tigers.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Detroit—I think it is a great baseball town with great fans,” he said. “To be honest, I loved the old stadium so much—I’m not sure why. This is nice, but I was always so comfortable at the old stadium.”

Texas matched its longest winning streak of the season, set from May 16-23.

Detroit has lost seven straight and 11 of 12, falling a franchise-worst 62 games under .500 at 31-93. The Tigers, 6-26 since the All-Star break, have had six losing streaks of seven or more games this year and need to win five of their next 11 to avoid losing 100 games before Sept. 1.

“We would hope we would get better by this point of the season,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “But we are still getting tight in clutch situations. We definitely had our opportunities to win this one, but we shot ourselves in the foot yet again.”

John Thomson (11-10) improved to 4-0 in his last six starts, giving up four runs and 11 hits in eight-plus innings.

“I thought we got everything we could have asked for, and maybe a little more,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “He was the difference in this game.”

Brian Shouse got three outs for his first career save. He entered with a runner on first and allowed a single to pinch-hitter Craig Monroe. Alex Sanchez then bunted into a forceout at third, and Shouse struck out Ben Petrick and Bobby Higginson.

“I never dreamed about getting a save,” Shouse said. “I’m just glad I was the guy Buck wanted out there. The bunt was a big play, and it happened from there. Hopefully, I’ll be out there again.”

Mike Maroth (6-18) lost for the fifth time in six starts, giving up four runs—three earned—and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. He is the first pitcher with 18 losses by Aug. 19 since Clyde Wright and Randy Jones in 1974.

“This isn’t easy—I don’t want people to know me only for the number of losses I have,” he said. “But I want to get better, and the only way I’m going to do that is to keep pitching.”

Maroth did impress his toughest opponent on Tuesday.

“You have to give Mike credit—he’s got good stuff and he’s not afraid to challenge hitters,” Rodriguez said. “That’s why I think he’ll be a big winner in the majors.”

Texas went ahead in the first when Rodriguez tripled off the 420-foot sign in center and scored on Rafael Palmeiro’s two-out single.

Petrick’s homer tied the score in the bottom half, one pitch after Sanchez was caught stealing at second. Higginson followed with a single but was thrown out by left fielder Jason Jones trying to stretch the hit into a double.

Texas took a 4-1 lead in the third after Michael Young singled and first baseman Carlos Pena booted Hank Blalock’s grounder for an error. Rodriguez followed with a 423-foot homer down the left-field line, giving him two homers and a triple in his last three at-bats.

“He’s a great player, and he’s going to get his homers and hits—he’s proven that through the years,” Maroth said. “I threw the pitch exactly where I wanted it, and he made an adjustment and hit it out. That’s what I need to learn—I have to figure out when guys are making adjustments like that, and how to stop them.”

Pena hit an RBI groundout in the bottom half, and Higginson’s run-scoring single in the fifth pulled Detroit to 4-3.

Ramon Nivar hit an RBI single off Chris Spurling in the eighth, and ShaneHalter had a sacrifice fly in the bottom half.

Notes

Thomson’s start on Tuesday was his third against the Tigers in a span of eight days. He started against Detroit on Aug. 11, but left after just 1 2-3 innings because of rain and started again three days later. … Rodriguez’s first-inning triple was his 1,500th career hit. He is the youngest to reach that plateau since Robin Yount did it in 1983. … Petrick’s three runs matched his career high, set with Colorado against St. Louis on June 8, 2001. … Brandon Inge’s ninth-inning single extended his hitting streak to a career-high12 games.

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