Tigers Get Rings, Get Win

By: AP
By: AP

After getting their AL championship rings, the Detroit Tigers played like winners for seven innings and then hung on.

Curtis Granderson hit his first career grand slam as Detroit built a nine-run lead Wednesday in a 10-9 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Coming off its first AL pennant since 1984, Detroit lost Monday's opener 5-3 in 10 innings. The Tigers chased A.J. Burnett (0-1) early in this one, and Granderson connected off Shaun Marcum for his first homer of the season, capping an eight-run third with a drive that landed on top of the wall in right-center and bounced over.

Granderson also had an RBI triple in the seventh off Victor Zambrano and tied his career high with five RBIs.

Toronto closed with seven runs in the eighth off relievers Jason Grilli and Fernando Rodney but the potential tying run was stranded at third when Magglio Ordonez made a running catch of Troy Glaus' drive to right-center.

Todd Jones worked the ninth for his first save. After Toronto put two on with one out, Jason Smith flied out and Reed Johnson popped out.

Kenny Rogers drew the loudest ovation from fans when players received their championship rings in a pregame ceremony. The 42-year-old left-hander, who won all three of his starts during the 2006 postseason, had surgery Friday to remove a blood clot from his pitching shoulder. He's not expected back until July.

Nate Robertson (1-0), moved up to Rogers' spot in the rotation, allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, leaving after Aaron Hill's two-run homer.

While a crowd of 44,297 came to the opener, just 24,881 fans turned out on a day with a 43-degree temperature, chilly wind and a threat of snow.

Burnett gave up six runs and five hits and four walks in two-plus innings, leaving after Detroit's first six batters reached in the third. It was his shortest start since June 30, 2004, when he got three outs for Florida at Atlanta.

Pinch-hitter Jason Smith had a three-run triple against Grilli in the eighth, and Vernon Wells added a two-run double against Rodney.

Zambrano, coming back from elbow surgery, made his first big league appearance since a relief appearance for the New York Mets on Sept. 20, 2005.


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