Tigers 8, Devil Rays 0, 1st game

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Jeremy Bonderman was masterful in his final start of the season.

Bonderman threw a four-hitter and Ivan Rodriguez hit his 250th career homer to lead the Detroit Tigers past the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-0 in the opening game of a doubleheader Thursday.

“I wanted it pretty bad,” Bonderman said of the shutout. “It’s a good way to finish the season.”

Bonderman (11-13) struck out nine and walked one—Tino Martinez with two outs in the ninth—in his second complete game of the year. He also went the distance in a 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 23.

“Bonderman has good stuff,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “He threw the ball well.”

The Devil Rays’ best chance to score came in the eighth, when Jose Cruz Jr. led off with a triple. Bonderman struck out Jorge Cantu, Brook Fordyce and B.J. Upton to keep the shutout intact.

“The eighth inning probably set it apart,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “When you look at it, a lead off triple and punch out the side. He wanted it.”

Brandon Inge had an RBI double in the second before Rodriguez made it 3-0 with a two-run homer an inning later. Rodriguez, who sat out Wednesday’s loss to the White Sox with a tight right hamstring, is one RBI away from 1,000 for his career.

Omar Infante hit an RBI single during a two-run fourth that gave Detroit a 5-0 lead. Bobby Higginson put the Tigers up 6-0 with a run-scoring single in the sixth.

Carlos Pena hit a two-run single in the eighth for Detroit.

Dewon Brazelton (6-8) allowed six runs and 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings for Tampa Bay. He’s 0-4 in his last seven starts, allowing 36 runs over 36 1-3 innings.

“The season wore him down,” Piniella said. “I think he needs to get stronger over the winter, and at the same time he needs to improve his breaking ball. That’s going to come with strength.”

It’s the first doubleheader ever played at Tropicana Field. It was scheduled to make up games postponed on Sept. 4-5 because of Hurricane Frances.

The Tigers flew to Florida for the one day trip after losing 11-2 to the White Sox on Wednesday at Comerica Park. Both teams were slated to depart after the doubleheader for a season-ending three-game series that begins Friday in Detroit.


There appeared to be around 1,000 fans present for the first pitch of Game 1 at 1:16 p.m. … There have been 68 doubleheaders in domed stadiums. The previous one came Oct. 5, 2001 when Toronto beat Cleveland twice at Skydome. … Detroit LF Craig Monroe doubled in the fourth off an overhanging catwalk 155-feet above the playing surface. The ball, which was in play, landed in mid-left field.

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