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Home News-Telegram Sports Pro Sports Willis finds form, pitches Tigers past Texas

Willis finds form, pitches Tigers past Texas

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DETROIT (AP) — Dontrelle Willis and the Detroit Tigers waited a long time for this one.

Making his second start since coming off the disabled list, Willis allowed one hit while working into the seventh inning of Detroit's 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

The 2003 NL Rookie of the Year won for the first time since September 2007 — with Florida. He left to a loud ovation before four relievers finished the one-hitter for the Tigers.

"I appreciate it," Willis said. "Now that I feel healthy and strong, I think I can start building some trust out there."

In a matchup of surprising division leaders, the Tigers snapped Texas' seven-game winning streak with their fourth straight victory.

Willis (1-0), who began the season on the DL with an anxiety disorder, struck out five in 6 1-3 innings to win for the first time since Sept. 25, 2007. He allowed two baserunners in the first inning, then retired 17 straight.

"He was tremendous," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Hopefully, we can build on that."

A walk to Andruw Jones ended Willis' run of retired batters — and his outing.

Willis' previous win came against the Chicago Cubs. He entered Tuesday's game with a 7.71 ERA but trimmed it to 3.27 by the time he walked off the mound.

The left-hander with the high leg kick was acquired by the Tigers from Florida in a blockbuster deal that also landed them slugger Miguel Cabrera. But Willis was a mess last season, with a 9.38 ERA in only 24 innings. He missed most of the year with a right knee injury and battled control problems when he was on the mound.

"I think he's in the process of working himself back," Leyland said. "We're going to take our time with it and let it develop."

Brandon McCarthy (3-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in seven innings and lost for the second time in two decisions.

The Rangers never figured out Willis. Michael Young doubled in the first but the rest of the balls Texas lifted out of the infield were easy pickings for Detroit's outfielders.

"He threw the ball well," Texas leadoff man Ian Kinsler said. "You never want to downplay it when somebody does that. He threw the ball well after all he's been through. He did a great job."

Detroit scored once in each of the first three innings on sacrifice flies by Jeff Larish and Gerald Laird, and Placido Polanco's single. The fourth run came on Cabrera's RBI double in the seventh.

The Tigers tossed their sixth shutout, one season after posting just two.

The loss was the ninth straight at Comerica Park for the Rangers, swept by the Tigers from April 10-12 in their first home series this season. Detroit, which swept Oakland last weekend, reached the 10-hit plateau for the fourth time in four games.

The shutout loss was Texas' first in Detroit since Aug. 30, 1999.

Rangers All-Star center fielder Josh Hamilton sat out to rest the sore right groin he irritated Sunday. He and manager Ron Washington said the ailment wasn't serious.

Yankees 9, Orioles 1

At New York, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira homered, CC Sabathia (4-3) dominated into the late innings and the Yankees won their seventh straight.

Rodriguez homered for the fourth straight game, connecting for a two-run shot in the first. It was the 558th of his career, putting him five behind Reggie Jackson for 11th place.

Ahead 2-1 in the seventh, the Yankees broke it open with a seven-run burst. Teixeira highlighted it with his fourth homer in four games.

Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1

At Boston, David Ortiz went hitless in his return to the lineup, but the Red Sox got their offense from the bottom of the order to help Tim Wakefield (5-2) beat the AL East-leading Blue Jays. Wakefield went eight innings and Jonathan Papelbon earned his 11th save.

Athletics 4, Rays 1, 11 innings

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer off Joe Nelson during a four-run 11th for Oakland, which stopped a four-game skid.

Royals 6, Indians 5

At Kansas City, Mo., Mike Jacobs and Mark Teahen hit consecutive homers off Cleveland closer Kerry Wood, and Willie Bloomquist capped the four-run ninth with a winning sacrifice fly.

David DeJesus' RBI triple tied it at 5. Wood (1-2) blew a three-run lead after Cliff Lee pitched eight effective innings. The Indians' bullpen has nine blown saves in 16 opportunities. Last-place Cleveland has lost four straight.

White Sox 6, Twins 2

At Chicago, Paul Konerko hit a two-run homer and Mark Buehrle (6-1) pitched seven solid innings to help the White Sox snap a five-game slide.

Jermaine Dye homered and Jim Thome added a two-run double for Chicago, which won for only the fourth time in 16 games. Joe Mauer homered for the Twins, who have lost five straight and are 4-13 on the road.

Angels 6, Mariners 5

At Seattle, Bobby Abreu had three hits and two RBIs to help Matt Palmer (5-0) win his fifth straight start. Los Angeles took advantage of sloppy play by the Mariners to beat Felix Hernandez (4-3).

Brian Fuentes struck out the side in the ninth for his 10th save. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 615th homer.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

 

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