Tigers 14, Devil Rays 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Gary Sheffield put on a power display for the hometown fans.
“When you go 0-for-4 and the game’s over, you lost and you go see your family, it’s like `You didn’t do anything,”’ Sheffield said. “So when you do something, it makes your family proud and then you get more phone calls because when you’re struggling nobody calls you.”
Sheffield, from nearby Tampa, has three homers in the first two games of the three-game series, and 12 overall.
“I am just glad he is hitting for the Tigers,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “He is an offensive force in anybody’s lineup.”
Sheffield’s 34th multihomer game helped Detroit stop a four-game losing streak. He has 467 career homers, moving him past Dave Winfield into sole possession of 29th place on the all-time list.
“I feel like I can do better,” Sheffield said. “I don’t ever get content where I’m at or just get comfortable and happy where I’m at. I always try to come in here and improve.”
Bonderman (4-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 1-3 innings and struck eight. The right-hander is 4-1 with an 1.88 ERA against the Devil Rays.
Sheffield hit a two-run shot off Casey Fossum (3-5) during the Tigers’ three-run first. He added a three-run drive in a five-run sixth.
“He’s got a nice swing,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said with a smile. “He plays hard every night.”
Placido Polanco drove in a run on an RBI grounder as Detroit, which tied a season high for runs, scored twice in the second for a 5-0 lead. The other run scored on the same play after Tampa Bay shortstop Brendan Harris was charged with an error for an errant throw to first in an attempt to complete a double play. Detroit’s Ivan Rodriguez forced the miscue with a strong slide into second base.
Fossum allowed five runs and seven hits in one-plus inning. His ERA rose from 7.15 to 7.89.
“They just got to me early and they were jumping on the first pitch,” Fossum said. “I didn’t have time to settle in and before I knew it, it was over. It’s an aggressive team. I couldn’t get anything going.”
The outing could put Fossum’s rotation spot in jeopardy.
“We’re evaluating things consistently,” Maddon said. “We’ll just see what we’ll do next. Right now, I really have nothing to give you concrete.”
Carlos Pena cut the Tampa Bay deficit to 5-1 on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly. He has 12 RBIs in his last 12 games.
Rodriguez hit an RBI double in a two-run seventh, and a two-run homer in the ninth as the Tigers had a season-high 22 hits.
“We just had one of those freak nights, and we whacked it around pretty good,” Leyland said. “It’s nice when everybody makes contributions and obviously they pretty much did throughout the lineup, but we’re capable of that.”
Leyland said Inge will not be in the lineup Wednesday because of a sore big toe. He was hit by a pitch in the second inning. … Sheffield has 1,530 RBIs. He moved past Jeff Bagwell and Tris Speaker into 42nd place on the career RBIs list. … Sheffield has 16 homers against Tampa Bay. The only AL team he has more homers against is Baltimore (17). … Polanco (strained abdomial muscle) returned after missing the previous two games. … Tampa Bay CF Rocco Baldelli (strained left hamstring) has started taking batting practice and hopes to play in minor league games within 10 to 14 days. … Rodriguez was back in the lineup after being rested Monday. … The Devil Rays have the same record, 21-29, as last season after 50 games. Tampa Bay wound up 61-101 in 2006. … Tigers RF Magglio Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning double.