DETROIT (AP)—Ivan Rodriguez hit a game-winning two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off struggling reliever Fausto Carmona to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
With Placido Polanco on first, Rodriguez connected on Carmona’s first pitch for his ninth homer. Carmona (1-7) has blown all three of his save opportunities since the Indians traded closer Bob Wickman to Atlanta on July 20. Carmona has allowed 11 runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings over his last four outings.
It was the second straight game that Detroit won in its last at-bat. Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning on Friday night to give Detroit a 7-6 win.
Marcus Thames also homered for the Tigers.
Travis Hafner homered in his fourth straight game for Cleveland and Casey Blake also hit a home run. Blake left after injuring his leg in the top of the ninth inning while trying to get back to second base.
Joel Zumaya (6-1) pitched two hitless innings for the victory.
Kenny Rogers, who hasn’t won since July 5, appeared headed for another early exit as he gave up three runs in the first inning.
Hafner hit a two-run homer with one out by driving Rogers’ 1-2 pitch into the right-centerfield stands an estimated 414 feet away. His 33rd homer also scored Grady Sizemore, who led off with a double.
With two outs, Blake lined a 3-2 pitch off the foul pole in left for his 16th homer.
Rogers allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out three.
Indians’ starter Paul Byrd kept the Tigers off balance and consistently worked from ahead in the count. He gave up one earned run and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, walking two and striking out four.
Polanco’s two-out RBI single in the seventh made it 3-2 and chased Byrd. Jason Davis came on and got out of the inning by getting Rodriguez to ground into a force out.
Davis also got the first two outs in the eighth inning, but a single by Craig Monroe and an error by Hector Luna at second on Sean Casey’s grounder put runners on first and third. Pinch runner Omar Infante then stole second but Thames grounded out.
Thames had homered with one out in the fifth. He connected with Byrd’s 0-2 pitch and sent it into the left-field stands for his 20th of the season.
If his throwing session on Sunday goes well, Detroit LHP Mike Maroth will be sent on a rehabilitation assignment and start on Wednesday for Triple-A Toledo, according to pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. Maroth is on the 60-day DL after undergoing surgery on his left elbow. … Hafner matched his career high with his 33rd homer. … Tigers’ RF and cleanup hitter Magglio Ordonez didn’t start because, “He hasn’t had much success against Byrd (4-for-29)and his leg was barking a little bit,” manager Jim Leyland said. … Thames’ home run was his first since July 16.