Indians 10, Tigers 2

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DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers’ loss to Cleveland was so bad that manager Jim Leyland’s booming, expletive-filled tirade could be heard outside the clubhouse door.

Chris Shelton hit his AL-leading ninth homer for Detroit, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Paul Byrd’s seven solid innings or a six-run third in Cleveland’s 10-2 victory over the Tigers on Monday.

“We stunk,” Leyland said while speaking to reporters for less than a minute, a terse session that ended with him abruptly storming out of his office. “The whole ball of wax was lackluster.

“It’s been going on here before.”

In Leyland’s first year back in the dugout after seven away, he is trying to turn around a franchise without a winning record since 1993 or a postseason appearance in 19 years.

“He wants our expectations to be greater than maybe they’ve been,” Nate Robertson said after giving up seven runs—six earned—on eight hits over 2 1-3 innings.

Shelton became the fourth player in baseball history with at least nine home runs in his team’s first 13 games but the Tigers went 2-5 on their homestand after winning five of their first six games. Albert Pujols joined the list later Monday with his ninth homer in the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2-1 win at Pittsburgh.

“I don’t care about personal success,” Shelton said. “It’s all about winning.

“When you have a chance to take three of four from the Indians, you’ve got to do it.”

Casey Blake’s solo homer sparked the onslaught in the third for the Indians, who won without manager Eric Wedge, back in Cleveland for the birth of his first child earlier in the day.

Bench coach Joel Skinner managed, picking up where he left off the previous day when Wedge was ejected for arguing a call. Wedge made the 170-mile drive to Cleveland after Sunday’s game, and was with his wife when their daughter, Ava Catherine, was born Monday morning.

Byrd (2-1) also gave up a solo homer to Carlos Guillen that made it 8-2 in the fourth, but quieted Detroit’s bats for the most part. He gave up two runs on four hits and one walk—after allowing 11 runs and six walks in his two previous starts—and struck out five. His 88-pitch outing included 64 strikes.

“Solo home runs can’t hurt you if you’re pitching that way,” Skinner said. “His command was better in the strike zone, and when he does that, he has success.”

The six-run third put the Indians ahead 7-1 and allowed Byrd to settle into a groove.

“It helps you relax,” he said. “You don’t have to be perfect.”

Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge helped the Indians score first by making an error, which led to Eduardo Perez’s RBI double in the second inning.

Shelton tied it 1-all in the home half when he pulled Byrd’s 0-2 pitch barely over the left-field fence, keeping up his startling start.

“I wanted to respect the inside, but it went over the middle and he crushed it,” Byrd said.

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt hit 11 home runs in the first 13 games of the 1976 season and just two other players before Shelton had at least nine homers at the same point: Larry Walker in 1997 and Luis Gonzalez in 2001, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Pujols homered in the first inning against the Pirates to join them on the list.

The Indians began to break the game open when Blake led off the third with a home run. They scored five more runs on six hits and a walk, chasing Robertson (1-2). Cleveland scored two more runs on four hits off reliever Jason Grilli over four innings.


DH Dmitri Young (right quadriceps strain) will not join the Tigers when they start a road trip Tuesday at Oakland. … Indians RHP Fernando Cabrera (bruised right heel) was to make a start Monday night at Triple-A Buffalo. … In nine previous starts against Cleveland, Robertson averaged 7.41 strikeouts per nine innings—but did not strike out a batter in his 49-pitch outing. … Byrd signed as a free agent in December following a 12-win season for the Los Angeles Angels in 2005. He improved to 6-1 against the Tigers in 10 games, including nine starts. … The Indians are hitting .309 as a team. … Martinez extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

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