DETROIT (AP)—Jim Leyland knows baseball isn’t a complicated game.
His Detroit Tigers proved his point Tuesday.
The Tigers gave up 13 runs in the first game of a day-night doubleheader with the Texas Rangers, but allowed only one in the second to gain a split.
“It’s pretty simple—it comes down to whether your team pitches or not,” Leyland said. “We didn’t pitch good in the first game, and we pitched very well in the second game. That’s what it is about.”
Texas hit seven homers to win the opener 13-6, but rookie Jair Jurrjens and three relievers combined on a seven-hitter in the Tigers’ 4-1 victory in the nightcap.
“You just have to hit the reset button when the first game goes like that,” said Jason Grilli, who pitched two shutout innings in Detroit’s win.
The split, combined with a win by the Yankees, left the Tigers four games behind New York in the AL wild-card race. The Tigers fell 6 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central. The Indians beat Chicago 8-3.
“We’re a huge, huge long shot for the division, but we’ve got a legitimate chance at the wild card,” Leyland said. “We’ve got to keep taking care of business and, obviously, we’ll need some help.”
Jurrjens (2-1) was making his fourth major-league start, and hadn’t pitched since Aug. 26 because of shoulder problems. He was activated from the disabled list before the game, and gave up one run and three hits in five innings.
“I was getting stiff between innings because of the cold wind, but I wasn’t hurting on the mound,” he said. “I just wanted to get through five innings.”
Marlon Byrd hit two of the Rangers’ seven homers in the opener. Hank Blalock, David Murphy, Freddy Guzman, Jarrod Saltamacchia and Ramon Vazquez also went deep for Texas, which had not hit seven homers in a game since getting eight on June 30, 2005, against the Angels.
The Rangers, who took an 11-0 lead in the first game, went up 1-0 on Byrd’s sacrifice fly in the first inning of the nightcap, but Brandon McCarthy (5-9) couldn’t survive the bottom of the inning.
Curtis Granderson started the inning with a walk, stole second and third and scored on Gary Sheffield’s one-out RBI single. Sheffield’s hit ended an 0-for-25 slump, his longest since an 0-for-29 skid in 2002.
“I felt fine, I just wasn’t throwing well,” McCarthy said. “I just couldn’t make the pitches I wanted.”
Sheffield, Rodriguez and Polanco all sat out the first game, when Detroit couldn’t build on Monday’s dramatic four-run rally in the ninth to beat Toronto.
“Momentum doesn’t matter if you don’t pitch,” Leyland said. “When the air is out of the balloon after three innings, it isn’t good.”
The Rangers didn’t get an extra-base hit in the nightcap.
“We hit well in the first game, and they pitched well in the second game,” Michael Young said. “We just couldn’t get anything going.”
The second-game loss ended Texas’ season-best winning streak at six games, but they have won 13 of 16. The Rangers scored 52 runs in a stretch of three doubleheader games, starting with last month’s historic 30-3 rout of Baltimore.
“It seems like we’re a doubleheader team,” Byrd said. “It’s been a long year, but we’re finally playing Rangers baseball.”
“I guess you’d have to say it is the hottest we’ve been all year,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
Vicente Padilla (6-9) allowed three hits and three walks in six shutout innings in the opener, improving his scoreless streak to 12 innings. He is 3-0 in his career against Detroit with a 2.07 ERA.
Chad Durbin (8-7) gave up five runs—four earned—and six hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Texas went ahead in the first on Jason Botts’ RBI single. In the second, left fielder Marcus Thames let Murphy’s fly ball glance off his glove, bounce off the top of the wall and land in the bullpen to make it 2-0.
Byrd hit a two-run homer in the third and Blalock’s two-out double chased Durbin. Murphy reached on a throwing error by third baseman Brandon Inge and Tim Byrdak threw a run-scoring wild pitch that put Texas ahead 5-0.
Texas made it 10-0 in the fifth off Jose Capellan, including homers by Byrd, Saltamacchia and Vazquez. Blalock hit a 440-foot drive to straightaway center in the seventh against Yorman Bazardo, and Guzman got his first major league homer in the ninth when he connected off Clay Rapada.
The teams combined to use 48 players in the doubleheader. … Rapada has faced eight batters as a Tiger and retired only three. … The Rangers activated McCarthy (shoulder) from the DL on Tuesday, but he responded with the Rangers’ shortest start since Adam Eaton in August 2006.