The Tigers salvaged one game of their three game series with the Rangers with a 5-2 victory this afternoon. One of the biggest stories of the day was Kenny Rogers finally allowing a run. After pitching 34 1/3 scoreless innings including 23 in last year's post-season, Rogers gave up a run in the sixth inning when Kenny Lofton scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Young. Of course, a bigger story is that today's game was further confirmation that Rogers is strong and healthy after missing two and a half months due to a blood clot. In six innings of work, Rogers allowed just that one run on 4 hits and a walk.
Rogers left with a 3-1 lead thanks, in part, to a 2 run single in the 5th by Carlos Guillen. Gary Sheffield added to the lead with a 2 run homer, his 18th of the year, in the 7th. This time the bullpen held on to it. Chad Durbin allowed 1 run on 3 hits in 2 innings. Much to the dismay of many Tigers fans, Todd Jones then entered the game in the 9th with a 5-2 lead. On Wednesday, Jones took responsibility for Tuesday's loss but also received a vote of confidence from Jim Leyland. Today, Jones quieted his doubters with an easy one two three inning to gain his 19th save of the year.
The victory left the Tigers 1/2 game ahead of the Indians and 6 games ahead of the Twins in the AL Central. The Tigers now take on the Twins in a three game series. The opening game will feature a match-up between two of the best pitchers in the game - Justin Verlander and Johan Santana. On Saturday and Sunday, the Tigers will be without Gary Sheffield who will serve a two game suspension for the bat throwing incident in Cleveland 4 weeks ago.