DETROIT (AP)—Back on the mound in Detroit, Kenny Rogers gave the Tigers another lift.
He allowed one run over six innings in his first home start since shoulder surgery, leading the Tigers over the Texas Rangers 5-2 Thursday.
“I don’t go out there and expect to fail,” Rogers said. “It was a good start, but it’s only a start.”
Rogers (2-0) missed the first 12 weeks of the season after surgery to remove a blood clot from his throwing shoulder. When the left-hander returned last week, he gave up two hits in six shutout innings at Atlanta.
This time, he allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one as Detroit stopped a two-game losing streak and remained a half-game ahead of Cleveland in the AL Central.
“I was a little more comfortable in what I could do,” Rogers said.
It was his first start at Comerica Park since Oct. 22, when he pitched eight scoreless innings to win Game 2 of the World Series—the Tigers’ only victory against St. Louis.
“We had opportunities to do something, but he did what he always does,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He got out of it.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Rogers, who was 7-0 in starts after Detroit losses last season, wanted to keep throwing beyond the sixth.
“But with 85 pitches and it being his second game back, I’m not going to get crazy,” Leyland said. “He’s kind of freaky, really. To be out that long and pick both sides of the plate apart. That’s not easy to do.”
Gary Sheffield hit a two-run homer, his team-high 18th, in the seventh off reliever Scott Feldman, and Carlos Guillen had a two-run single in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games and his string of games with an RBI to 11. The latter is one shy of the club record shared by Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane and Rudy York.
“He’s locked in,” Leyland said. “Rarely do you ever see him throw an at-bat away.”
Kevin Millwood (4-7) gave up three runs, five hits and six walks in six innings, striking out six.
“Aside from the walks, I thought this was the best that I’ve thrown the ball in a long time,” said Millwood, who had won his prior two starts. “It’s fun pitching against a team like this for the challenge But it’s mentally and physically draining because no one in that lineup is an easy out.”
Sheffield came home with Detroit’s first run in the fourth on Millwood’s wild pitch, and Guillen’s single boosted the lead to 3-0.
Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a fourth-inning single. … The game began 17 minutes late to accommodate the umpiring crew, which arrived shortly before the game began because of difficulty leaving Atlanta. … Detroit OF Craig Monroe was back in the lineup, a day after being scratched because of soreness in his left knee.