Rookie Pitchers Lead Tigers Past Indians

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- Jim Leyland knows that the Detroit Tigers can't fix their season overnight. He just wants to keep seeing progress.
"We have to go forward slowly, and hopefully we're starting to do that," he said after Sunday's 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.
The Tigers have won two straight, but are still 10 games under .500. They trail third-place Cleveland by a half-game in the AL Central. The teams finish their four-game series Monday.
"Tomorrow is important, because we need to start winning series," Leyland said. "There's a lot of baseball to play, but we need to start doing something about it. We can't afford to split series right now. We need to win two of three and three of four."
On Sunday, the Tigers got a boost from two rookie pitchers they didn't expect to be using this season: starter Armando Galarraga and reliever Freddy Dolsi.
Galarraga (5-2) allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings. After making eight starts while Dontrelle Willis was injured, he has moved back into the rotation after Jeremy Bonderman was lost for the season with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Galarraga, the only Detroit starter with a winning record. "When I'm going out to pitch, I feel positive that I can do something to help us win."
Dolsi started the season at Single-A Lakeland, but Leyland brought him in Sunday with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. Dolsi struck out both batters he faced.
"He was outstanding," Leyland said. "I'll be honest: I was shocked when they told me he was ready, but he's got a great arm. He's got a real chance to be pitching late in games."
Jeremy Sowers (0-1) took the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings.
"I just didn't pitch well today," said Sowers, who's replacing the injured Jake Westbrook in the rotation. "I threw too many pitches and I couldn't get batters out with runners in scoring position."
After scoring six times in the eighth inning of Saturday's come-from-behind win, the Tigers scored five runs in the first four innings Sunday.
"We're trying to get more consistency," Curtis Granderson said. "We need to start getting some two-out hits."
Detroit went up 1-0 on Miguel Cabrera's RBI single in the first, and Granderson made it 2-0 with his eighth homer in the second. Granderson was making a rare start against a lefty -- he hadn't homered off a left-hander since July 23, 2007.
"I didn't know it was that long -- I knew I had a terrible year against them last year," he said. "I've just got to find a way to grind it out against them."
Cleveland made it 2-1 on an RBI single by Grady Sizemore in the third, but the Tigers took control with three in the fourth.
Carlos Guillen led off with a double and scored on Ivan Rodriguez's single. After a walk, Sowers retired the next two, but Polanco hit a two-run single.
Ryan Garko made it 5-2 with an RBI single in the sixth, but Jhonny Peralta grounded out. Casey Fossum came out of the bullpen to get the final out.
The Indians loaded the bases off Zach Miner in the eighth, but Dolsi struck out Peralta and Ben Francisco to end the threat.
"We had poor at-bats -- it wasn't a good day for us," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "If you want to win games, you need to get the job done."


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