Tigers 8, Rangers 7
Rodriguez hit a two-run, tiebreaking homer in his return to Texas, and the Detroit Tigers won 8-7 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak.
“It’s good to win as many games as we can,” Rodriguez said. “I know that we’re here in Texas, but now we came from behind and played a good game and got the win.”
The Tigers trailed 4-0 after the first six Texas hitters, but came back to tie it at 5 with a pair of homers.
Rodriguez, playing against the Rangers for the second time, broke that tie with his shot in the eighth off Jeff Nelson. It was his fifth homer of the season.
“Just to break the skid is most important,” manager Alan Trammell said. “To do it the way we did after falling behind, it’s not the way I scripted it.”
Carlos Guillen went 3-for-4, including a three-run homer and RBI triple that proved to be the difference.
Rodriguez spent the first 11 1/2 seasons of his career in Texas. The catcher made his major league debut at age 19, then was selected to 10 All-Star games and won 10 Gold Gloves.
He left the Rangers after not being offered a new contract or salary arbitration after the 2002 season. He won a World Series last season with Florida, one of three National League teams that played in Texas, then signed a $40 million, four-year contract with Detroit.
“He has a way of doing those kinds of things,” Trammell said. “He’s a great player. He comes through with big hits, big plays.”
Rodriguez had been 3-for-32—all singles—with 13 strikeouts in his career against Nelson, including 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in the postseason against the former Yankees pitcher.
“Things sometimes change,” Rodriguez said. “He threw me a pitch over the plate and I hit a good one. He’s had good success on me, but today was my day.”
Nelson, trying to coax Rodriguez into a double-play grounder, was beat on a fastball.
“You have some success and you think he might be due, but you still go out and try to get him out,” Nelson said. “It just didn’t happen. It’s frustrating.”
Rondell White followed the homer with a single, and Guillen tripled.
When Rodriguez came to bat in the first, he received a loud, extended ovation and stepped out of the batter’s box briefly before grounding out. He finished 1-for-5, and the cheers weren’t so loud after his homer.
Detroit starter Jeremy Bonderman fell behind 4-0 after just six batters. He then retired 14 batters in a row until Alfonso Soriano’s two-out single in the fifth, but didn’t make it out of the next inning.
Texas loaded the bases in the sixth on a one-out walk, a single and an intentional walk to .105 hitter Brian Jordan. Rookie catcher Gerald Laird grounded out on a high chopper to drive in a run to make it 5-5, and Bonderman walked another to reload the bases.
Joaquin Benoit struck out seven and walked just one in six innings, but the Rangers starter gave up two homers.
Guillen’s three-run homer, a 412-foot shot that ricocheted off a post in the second deck of stands in right field, got the Tigers within 4-3 with no outs in the second.
Guillen hit a two-out single before Bobby Higginson’s homer in the fourth put Detroit ahead. Higginson had just one extra-base hit in 57 previous at-bats over 18 games.
Young led off for Texas with his sixth homer, and league-leading 47th hit. Blalock doubled, Soriano was hit by a pitch and Fullmer had a bloop RBI double.After Mark Teixeira walked, Dellucci hit a two-run single for a 4-0 lead.
Texas CF Laynce Nix, making his third start after missing four games with a sore big left toe, played just three innings before coming out Friday night because of a stomach virus. … Pena was 0-for-3 with two more strikeouts. He’s 12-for-68 (.176) with 26 strikeouts his last 21 games. … Since errors in each of his first three games as the Texas 2B, Soriano has gone25 straight games without an error.