Tigers 8, Devil Rays 0, 1st game; Devil Rays 6, Tigers 4, 2nd game
Toby Hall hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-4 victory in the second game Thursday, giving the Devil Rays a 40-38 record at Tropicana Field for their first winning season at home.
“Baby steps,” Hall said. “It’s only going to get better.”
With the Tigers leading 4-3 in the eighth inning of the nightcap, Jose Cruz Jr. hit a one-out double off Craig Dingman (2-2) and went to third on Jorge Cantu’s base hit. Geoff Blum followed with a single to right to tie it.
“Any team would hate to lose two in a row in a doubleheader,” Cantu said. “We tried to get Bonderman in the first game, but couldn’t. He was in command all game. We got them in the second one.”
Omar Infante and Craig Monroe hit run-scoring singles in the eighth to put the Tigers up 4-3. Infante’s hit-and-run single into left-center field off Harper scored Nook Logan—who had walked—all the away from first to tie it at 3.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead on Cantu’s two-run double in the first. The Tigers tied it at 2 on Carlos Pena’s homer and Logan’s RBI single in the fifth.
Cantu, 4-for-4, put the Devil Rays ahead 3-2 on a triple in the sixth off reliever Al Levine.
In the opener, 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.
“I wanted it pretty bad,” Bonderman said of the shutout. “It’s a good way to finish the season.”
“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.
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.
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,” manager Lou Piniella said. “I think he needs to get stronger over the winter, and at the same time he needs to improve his breaking ball.”
It’s the first doubleheader 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.
“We will play it all the way to end,” Trammell said. “That’s the way I was taught.”
Tampa Bay OF Damian Rolls was caught attempting a straight steal of home in the seventh inning of Game 2. … Devil Rays 1B Aubrey Huff was hit on the right hand by a pitch in the first inning of Game 2, but remained in the game. … Rodriguez was rested in Game 2. … There appeared to be around 1,000 fans present for the first pitch of Game 1 at 1:16 p.m. The announced crowd was 10,309. … There have been 68 doubleheaders in domed stadiums. The previous one came Oct. 5, 2001, when Toronto beat Cleveland twice at Skydome.