Tigers 10, Rangers 0
Sheffield homered twice and drove in five runs, leading Verlander and the Tigers to a 10-0 rout of Texas on Wednesday night.
Verlander (6-2) pitched seven sharp innings to bounce back from his worst start of the season. Sheffield hit two-run shots in the first and third. His second homer capped a four-run inning and made it 6-0.
“Gary had a huge night,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “It was good to get those runs early and Verlander did a great job with the lead.”
The Rangers have lost 11 of 14, leaving them with the worst record in the major leagues at 21-38.
Texas starter Kevin Millwood (2-5) allowed seven runs in 3 2-3 innings, increasing his ERA to 7.57. Rangers starting pitchers have a 6.77 ERA—the worst mark in the majors.
“We’ve been dealing with adversity for a while,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’ve got games left on the schedule and we’re going to show up. We’ll be back (Thursday) and hopefully make a difference.”
That was more than enough to help the Tigers bounce back from a 7-4 loss Tuesday night, when the Rangers scored six runs in the first.
Sheffield, who was 3-for-4, added an RBI single in the fourth that chased Millwood. Sheffield had his second multihomer game this season and the 35th of his career. He also drove in five runs May 29 against Tampa Bay.
“We’re prepared every day,” Sheffield said. “If you beat us, you’ve got to earn it. If somebody has a bad game, you erase it the next day.”
Millwood allowed nine hits before being relieved by Wes Littleton. Since coming off the disabled list last Friday, Millwood has given up 14 runs in 8 2-3 innings.
“I’ve been trying about everything I know to get things right,” said Millwood, who won 16 games with the Rangers last season. “It’s just not happening. It’s starting to get frustrating.”
The Tigers had 14 hits in support of Verlander, who yielded seven runs in five innings in his previous outing Thursday against Cleveland.
“Getting all those early runs allowed me to be aggressive,” Verlander said. “Our bullpen has been stressed this season so I wanted to give them a break.”
Verlander allowed five hits and struck out six, throwing 105 pitches. Bobby Seay and Todd Jones finished with perfect relief in Detroit’s second shutout of the year. Texas was blanked for the second time.
Rangers slugger Sammy Sosa went 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts in his pursuit of becoming the fifth player in history to hit 600 home runs. Sosa is 7-for-44 with 15 strikeouts since hitting his 598th homer on May 22.
Polanco, who was 3-for-4, doubled with one out in the first and Sheffield hit his first home run of the game—a drive down the right-field line—to put Detroit ahead 2-0.
Polanco followed with an RBI single to extend Detroit’s advantage to 4-0. The Tigers stretched their lead on Sheffield’s 15th home run.
Ordonez had a run-scoring single in the sixth.
“They got a lot of runs early and had their ace on the mound,” Texas catcher Gerald Laird said. “(Verlander) pitched well. He had his good stuff going.”
Sosa doubled leading off the second but was picked off for the third out of the inning.
The Rangers had runners on first and second in the third, but Michael Young grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira left in the fifth with a stiff neck. He suffered a concussion Friday when he was hit below the left eye on a throw from the outfield while scoring.
Washington said the injury isn’t serious and he expects Teixeira to be back in the lineup Thursday.
Sheffield has 1,539 RBIs, tied with Harry Heilman for 40th on the career list. … Texas 3B Ramon Vazquez broke an 0-of-10 skid with an infield single in the third. … Guillen has seven home runs this season and Rodriguez has six.