Tigers 6, Indians 1

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Mike Maroth never knew winning could be so much fun.

A 21-game loser a year ago, the left-hander won his fourth straight decision Saturday, leading the Detroit Tigers over the Cleveland Indians 6-1.

“It feels really good,” said Maroth (2-0). “It’s a lot better than losing, for sure.”

Detroit, which dropped an AL-record 119 games last year, improved to 7-4. The Tigers didn’t get their seventh win in 2003 until May 7—putting them at 7-25.

“There’s a much better feel around here,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “Obviously we are a better club.”

Maroth gave up 10 hits but only one run in 7 1-3 innings and struck out seven. He worked out of three jams in the middle innings, twice retiring Jody Gerut in key situations.

A year ago, Maroth went 9-21 and became the first 20-game loser in the major leagues since Brian Kingman in 1980. He had been 0-2 with an 11.37 ERA against Cleveland.

“I only went one-and-a-third (innings) against them last time,” said Maroth, who is 4-0 in five starts since his last loss Sept. 18. “But this is a different year and a different team. I was able to make some good pitches and things worked out. There’s only so many times you can get into a jam before they get to you.”

Gerut came in hitting .338 in his career against Detroit after going 5-for-5 Friday night and has 30 of 81 career RBIs against the Tigers. But he took a called third strike with the bases loaded in the third, and Maroth then struck out Casey Blake to end the inning.

Maroth got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth and escaped a first-and-third no outs jam in the fifth.

Gerut bounced back to Maroth, who threw to Omar Infante at second for the force. The shortstop then threw out Ronnie Belliard at the plate to complete the double play, and Blake followed with a groundout.

“I thought I could score,” Belliard said. “I think it was the right decision. I was trying to tie the score.”

Indians manager Eric Wedge disagreed.

“Ronnie’s got to go right away on that play,” Wedge said. “He hesitated and got caught.”

Jason Davis (0-1) gave up three runs, five hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings.

“I didn’t have my best stuff, tried to overthrow and got out of my routine a little,” said Davis, who came in with a 1.80 ERA in 15 career innings against Detroit.

Alex Sanchez opened the game with an infield single, stole second, took third when Tim Laker’s throw went wild for an error and scored on Ivan Rodriguez’s grounder.

Rodriguez doubled to open the sixth and scored on Rondell White’s single. Eric Munson’s RBI single off Scott Stewart and Infante’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0.

Fernando Vina’s run-scoring single and White’s RBI groundout extended the lead to 6-0 in the eighth.

Pinch-hitter Matt Lawton had a sacrifice fly off Al Levine in the bottomhalf.


Five players had two hits apiece for the Tigers, who improved to 21-53 at Jacobs Field, which opened in 1994. … The Indians put RHP Jose Jimenez on the disabled list with a strained left ribcage muscle and purchased the contract of RHP Dave Lee from Triple-A Buffalo … Indians SS Omar Vizquel popped as a pinch hitter in the ninth and remained three hits shy of 2,000 … White is 10 hits shy of 1,200. … Rodriguez has multihit games in six of the 10 games he has played. … Belliard went 2-for-4 against Maroth and is hitting.571 (12-for-21) against lefties.

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