Friday, April 07, 2006

Tigers extend undefeated streak Tigers manager Jim Leyland openly worried before the game that his hitters have hit so many home runs that they'll start thinking only about the long ball. Thursday did nothing to alleviate the problem, but it's a good problem to have. Chris Shelton's second two-homer game in four days and Magglio Ordonez's first two-homer game in three years led a seven-homer Tiger barrage off Rangers pitching, sending the Tigers to a 10-6 win at Texas.

The Tigers have a history of putting motion on pitchers whose knuckleballs go flat. They hit six home runs off of Boston's Tim Wakefield on Aug. 8, 2004, at Comerica Park, tying a Major League record for a pitcher in a game. Detroit spread out that power display over five innings. Tigers hitters needed just four innings to do it on Thursday off Rangers knuckler R.A. Dickey.

Brandon Inge started the string on the second pitch of the game, taking a hanging knuckler from Dickey (0-1) deep to left for his second home run of the year. After Placido Polanco and Ivan Rodriguez flied out to right, Ordonez ended his 0-for-8 start to the season with another solo shot to left.

Shelton homered leading off the second inning, then after a third-inning respite, resumed the home run derby with another solo shot with one out in the fourth to pass Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols for the Major League lead with his fourth home run this season. Carlos Guillen walked before Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames hit back-to-back blasts.

Ordonez's solo homer off the left-field foul pole leading off the ninth inning against Brian Shouse put the Tigers' power pace on a historic level. Detroit's 12 home runs the last two games and 15 homers in three games this season both surpassed franchise records for any two- or three-game stretch, respectively. Detroit already led the Majors in home runs -- Thursday's effort gave them more than double the total of any other American League team and six more than Atlanta. They fell one short of the team record for most home runs in a game.

Ironically, lack of offense plagued Tigers starter Nate Robertson last year with the third-lowest support in the league. Thursday's cushion allowed Robertson (1-0) to cruise to a victory. He allowed three runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

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