Tigers 5, Devil Rays 1

Preview | Box Score | Recap

DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers upgraded their offense from last season, and have a major league record to prove it.

Marcus Thames had his first two-homer game and drove in three runs, and Craig Monroe also homered in Detroit’s 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday night. The Tigers set a major league record by having 11 players with at least 10 homers.

“I’m glad it happened, no question,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “It’s nice when things like that happen.”

Gary Knotts (7-6) allowed one run and four hits, walked two and struck out four in 7 2-3 innings.

“I was hoping to go out on a good note, so I would have some confidence going into next year,” Knotts said.

Steve Colyer relieved Knotts with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth and struck out Aubrey Huff to end the inning. Colyer also struck out Tino Martinez looking in the ninth before Franklyn German got the last two outs, completing the four-hitter.

“We just didn’t swing the bats too good tonight,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said.

Scott Kazmir (2-3) gave up four runs and five hits in six innings, walked one and struck out six.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Thames’ bloop single to right, scoring Monroe, who had walked with one out and stole second.

The Tigers increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth on homers by Monroe and Thames. After Dmitri Young doubled with one out, Monroe lined Kazmir’s first pitch over the left-center field fence. After Carlos Pena struck out, Thames drilled a shot into the left-center field stands—estimated at 436 feet.

Tampa Bay got on the board in the top of the fifth on Jorge Cantu’s RBI double.

Thames led off the seventh with his second homer of the game, off Chad Gaudin. Thames came in with eight homers. Seven teams previously had 10 players in double figures, including this year’s Texas Rangers. The Tigers had 10 with at least 10 homers in 1999.

“He knew. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to hit them,” Pena said. “He was just trying to hit the ball hard and look what happened. It’s great for him. He had a great game today.”

Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford left in the first inning after bruising his left knee while sliding into first base.

Crawford, who leads the majors with 19 triples, led off the game with a grounder that Detroit second baseman Ryan Raburn knocked down. Crawford, in an attempt to beat the ball out, tried to slide into first. But his attempt to slide came too late and he appeared to jam his leg into the base and flipped over it.

“When I saw the ball coming, I thought I could slide and make it,” Crawford said. “I got caught in between sliding and running through the base. I made up my mind too late.”

Crawford, hitting .296 with 11 homers, 55 RBIs and 59 stolen bases, was helped off the field. He was replaced in the lineup by B.J. Upton, who went in at third base. Starting third baseman Huff moved to left field.


Cantu is 8-for-15 (.571) in his last four games. … Pena struck out three times. … Crawford will be re-examined by team doctors Monday.

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