DETROIT (AP) — Jair Jurrjens saved the Detroit Tigers from what could have been a terrible day.
The rookie right-hander allowed one run over five innings to lead the Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers and a split of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Marlon Byrd hit two of the Rangers’ seven homers in their 13-6 win in the opener.
The outing by Jurrjens (2-1), who was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday after having shoulder problems, was big for the Tigers. Detroit is four games behind the New York Yankees, who beat Toronto 9-2, in the AL wild-card race. The Tigers entered Tuesday six games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central.
The Rangers, who took an 11-0 lead in the first game, went up 1-0 on Byrd’s sacrifice fly in the first inning of the nightcap, but Brandon McCarthy (5-9) couldn't survive the bottom of the inning.
Curtis Granderson started the inning with a walk, stole second and third and scored on Gary Sheffield’s one-out RBI single. Sheffield’s hit ended an 0-for-25 slump, his longest since an 0-for-29 skid in 2002.
After Sheffield stole second, Magglio Ordonez hit an RBI single and Ivan Rodriguez made it 3-0 with a two-out double, ending McCarthy’s day.
The Tigers added a run in the second on an RBI single by Placido Polanco. Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save in 39 chances.
Sheffield, Rodriguez and Polanco all sat out the first game, when Detroit couldn’t build on Monday’s dramatic four-run rally in the ninth to beat Toronto.
“Momentum doesn’t matter if you don’t pitch,” Leyland said. “When the air is out of the balloon after three innings, it isn’t good.”
Texas had not hit seven homers in a game since getting eight on June 30, 2005, against the Angels.
“We haven’t pitched well,” Leyland said. “We’re trying to fight our way through it, but you have to have a chance to win. Being down 11-0 isn’t having a chance.”
The second-game loss ended Texas; season-best winning streak at six games, but they have still won 13-of-16. The Rangers scored 52 runs in a stretch of three doubleheader games, starting with last month’s historic 30-3 rout of Baltimore.
“It seems like we’re a doubleheader team,” Byrd said. “It'’ been a long year, but we’re finally playing Rangers baseball."
“I guess you’d have to say it is the hottest we’ve been all year,” Texas manager Ron Washington said.
Vicente Padilla (6-9) allowed three hits and three walks in six shutout innings in the opener, improving his scoreless streak to 12 innings. He is 3-0 in his career against Detroit with a 2.07 ERA.