August 8, 2006


Tigers open up double-digit lead


The Associated Press
Detroit Tigers’ Marcus Thames, right, is congratulated by Brandon Inge after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of the Tigers’ 9-3 win over the Minnesota Twins Monday in Detroit.

By The Associated Press
The Detroit Tigers tagged an ailing Francisco Liriano again to open a double-digit lead in the AL Central. The Chicago White Sox need much more from Mark Buehrle if they want to stay in the wild-card race.
Still hampered by soreness in his left forearm, Liriano was roughed up Monday night during Detroit’s 9-3 victory over the visiting Twins. Minnesota’s rookie sensation gave up four runs and a season-high 10 hits in four innings, leaving him with a 7.63 ERA against the Tigers this season and 1.39 against all other teams.
“It started bothering me in the second inning,” Liriano said. “It really bothered me. I couldn’t throw fastball, changeup, slider or anything.”
After facing Detroit on July 28, Liriano (12-3) missed his next scheduled start because of inflammation in his forearm. But the rest hardly seemed to help — he gave up a long homer to Marcus Thames and an RBI double to Magglio Ordonez.
“It’s a muscular problem. As the game was going on, he started to feel it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We had him checked out before, and everything was fine, but we’ll have him checked out again. It’s muscles, not his elbow.”
Zach Miner (7-2) won the matchup of promising rookies, allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings. The Tigers (76-36) have won four straight and six of seven to move a season-best 40 games over .500.
“We knew before the season that we could win some games,” Curtis Granderson said. “We didn’t expect this.”
The World Series champion White Sox didn’t expect to be 10 games back of Detroit, either, but that’s where they are after a 6-3 loss at home to the Los Angeles Angels.
Vladimir Guerrero hit one of three solo homers off a struggling Buehrle, and Kelvim Escobar pitched six solid innings for a rare win against Chicago.
A three-time All-Star, Buehrle (9-10) lost his sixth straight decision and hasn’t won since June 27. He came undone in the seventh inning, when the Angels scored three times with two outs to open a 6-2 lead.
“We can’t worry about what other teams are doing,” Buehrle said. “If Detroit goes undefeated the rest of the year and wins every game, we’ve got to shoot for the wild card. But until the division is not ours and they say there is no way you can win it, we’re still shooting for the division.”
Robb Quinlan and Jose Molina also connected off Buehrle, who committed a bases-loaded balk in the seventh. Escobar (8-9) gave up two runs and six hits to improve to 2-9 against the White Sox, including 1-7 as_a starter.
“The middle of their lineup is as good as there is in baseball,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I thought Kelvim did a great job of making the pitch when he had to.”
Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save.
Jim Thome hit his 34th homer for Chicago.
At Detroit, Thames led off the fourth with a 442-foot shot to left-center — the longest homer at Comerica Park this season. Craig Monroe added a solo shot in the eighth.
“Every time you make a mistake against that team, they make you pay for it,” Gardenhire said.
Joe Mauer hit his 10th homer for the Twins, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. They trail Chicago and Boston by a half-game in the wild-card race.
Blue Jays 8, Orioles 1: At Toronto, Lyle Overbay homered and drove in five runs, and Brian Tallet and two relievers combined on a two-hitter in place of an injured Ted Lilly.
The lefty was scratched just before his scheduled start because of a stiff neck. Vernon Wells hit a three-run homer for the Blue Jays, who have won two straight following a season-high seven-game losing skid.
Brandon League earned his first major league save by pitching the final four innings.
Athletics 7, Rangers 4: At Oakland, Calif., Mark Ellis drove in four runs with a homer and a bases-loaded double, leading the surging Athletics to their eighth victory in nine games.
Milton Bradley also homered and drove in two runs for the AL West-leading A’s, who opened a 10-game homestand after going 5-1 on the road last week against division rivals Los Angeles and Seattle.
This victory pushed Oakland to a season-high 10 games above .500, maintaining its three-game lead over the Angels atop the AL West.
Esteban Loaiza (5-7) got his_second victory in eight starts, repeatedly pitching out of trouble in 6 2-3 innings while allowing 10 hits and four runs.
Mariners 5, Devil Rays 4: At Seattle, Raul Ibanez hit a go-ahead, two-run homer, and the Mariners’ bullpen pitched 4 2-3 scoreless innings. J.J. Putz got four outs for his 24th save.



Mets bring Ledee back to NYC

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ricky Ledee is headed back to the Big Apple, this time with the New York Mets.
The backup outfielder was placed on waivers Monday night by the Los Angeles Dodgers and quickly claimed by New York. The NL East leaders were looking for a left-handed bat off the bench now that switch-hitting second baseman Jose Valentin and outfielder Endy Chavez are playing regularly.
The Mets also traded right fielder Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh for pitching help last week.
“I got the feeling that something was happening. I just didn’t know where,” Ledee said. “I’ve been down this road before. The good thing is that I’m going to go to another winning team. I just want to play baseball.”
Ledee was batting .245 (13-for-53) in 43 games with a homer and eight RBIs for the Dodgers this season. The eight-year veteran missed 64 games because of a pulled groin muscle. Last season, he hit .278 in 102 games with seven homers and 39 RBIs after signing with the Dodgers as a free agent.
“I love the Dodgers, but that’s just the way it is,” Ledee said. “I wanted to stay here, but I really wasn’t doing anything here. I was pinch-hitting in the third inning and fourth inning, and that’s not what I was here for. I know my job and I know what I have to do. I don’t know if it’s going to be the same thing over there or not, but I get_prepared for what I do. Hopefully, I’ll go there and keep winning.”
The 32-year-old Ledee began his big league career with the New York Yankees in 1998 and went 6-for-10 with three doubles, four RBIs and two walks in a World Series sweep of San Diego that season. He was traded to Cleveland in June 2000 with pitchers Jake Westbrook and Zach Day for David Justice.
“I love to play in New York, and I liked playing for the Yankees,” said Ledee, who also has played for Texas, Philadelphia and San Francisco. “I was caught up in all that stuff when I got traded from the Yankees, but I’m older now and I’m more mature.”