Tigers 17, Orioles 2

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DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Tigers doubled their AL Central lead Friday night.

Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer in an eight-run fourth inning, Brandon Inge added a grand slam in the sixth and the Detroit Tigers boosted their division lead to two games by routing the Baltimore Orioles 17-2 Friday night.

“This was a fun day,” said Craig Monroe, who homered and scored three runs. “This proves that the bats haven’t gone anywhere. This season is a grind, and everyone is going to have a slump.”

Jeremy Bonderman (12-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and walked two.

Detroit, which had 19 hits, scored more runs against the Orioles than the Tigers totaled in their previous six games combined. Carlos Guillen and Sean Casey both had two hits in the fourth inning, and Guillen scored twice.

“This is important for this ballclub,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “It was nice to see the offense break out, and Jeremy got through it pretty well.”

The Tigers entered with 17 losses in 25 games and the division lead, which was 10 games before play on Aug. 8, was down to one game. But the Twins lost to Cleveland 5-4 in 10 innings, and the Tigers’ offense broke out against Baltimore with its biggest inning since scoring eight at Kansas City on May 24, 2004.

“It all starts over tomorrow,” Leyland said. “We’ve got a good pitcher going in Nate (Robertson), and they’ve got Kris Benson, who has been pretty good.”

Baltimore allowed its most runs since an 18-5 defeat to the New York Yankees on May 27, 2004, and lost for the 13th time in 17 games.

Bonderman had been 0-4 in nine starts since July 24.

“I felt really comfortable out there for the first time in a while,” he said. “Even in the bullpen before the game, I felt like I was really driving to the plate.”

Hayden Penn (0-3) was hit hard for the third straight start, allowing seven runs, seven hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings—his ERA dropped from 36.82 to 27.00 in his longest outing of the season. Penn has started three times since Sept. 3—once each against division leaders Oakland, New York and Detroit—and allowed 22 runs and 24 hits in 7 1-3 innings.

“I felt good,” Penn said. “I just think I get a little out of my mind-set and start trying to make perfect pitches instead of good pitches. I’m still very confident on the mound. I still think I belong here.”

Baltimore left the bases loaded in the first when David Newhan popped out.

With one out in the bottom half, Nick Markakis grabbed Ivan Rodriguez’s fly ball off the top of the right-field fence, but Monroe followed with a line drive homer just over the same wall.

Detroit left the bases loaded in the second, then broke open the game in the fourth. Marcus Thames hit an RBI groundout, Curtis Granderson hit a run-scoring single, Ivan Rodriguez hit a run-scoring double and Craig Monroe had an RBI single, with Newhan making an error in left that let another run score when the ball went off his glove.

“Hayden kept us in the ball game for three innings—he threw a bit better,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “In the fourth, he just disintegrated. It turned fast. I think it’s obvious that he’s better than this.”

Russ Ortiz relieved and allowed Ordonez’s homer, which made it 8-0, and Casey hit an RBI double.

Markakis homered in the fifth and Newhan in the sixth. It was the first homer since Aug. 31 for Markakis—who hit four in the first four months of the season, then hit 10 in August.

Ordonez hit an RBI double in the sixth off Winton Abreu, who walked pinch-hitter Matt Stairs—claimed on waivers from Texas earlier Friday—with the bases loaded. Inge homered off Sendy Rleal, and Granderson added a solo homer in the eighth.

“It wasn’t very pretty,” Perlozzo said. “We couldn’t shut it down.”


Stairs homered against the Tigers on Wednesday. He arrived at the stadium during the game and had only been in the dugout for a few moments before hitting for Thames. “As soon as I got here, Jim told me to get loose,” he said. “That’s why I’m here.” … The teams combined to use 37 players.

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