Tigers 3, Indians 1

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DETROIT – Justin Verlander pitched seven impressive innings and Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer to help Detroit win its eighth straight game with a 3-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

It was the Tigers’ 15th victory in its last 16 games. Detroit owns the major league’s best record at 35-14. That win total is just eight less than Detroit had during the entire 2003 season, in which it lost 119 games.

Verlander (7-3) won his fourth-consecutive decision as he allowed a run and seven hits in seven innings. He walked one batter and struck out five. But he did have his 20-inning scoreless streak halted by Grady Sizemore’s home run leading off the fourth inning.

Fernando Rodney pitched the eighth and Todd Jones took over in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.

Tigers left fielder Craig Monroe robbed Sizemore of a second home run when he leaped above the fence to catch Sizemore’s drive with none out in the eighth and a runner on second.

Cleveland starter Paul Byrd (4-3) took the loss. He gave up two unearned runs and five hits in six innings. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out five.

Detroit got all the runs it needed in the first on Ordonez’s two-out, two-run homer. Carlos Guillen, who had reached on an error, scored ahead of Ordonez’s 12th home run.

Sizemore drove Verlander’s 1-0 pitch into the right-field stands to lead off the fourth for his ninth home run of the season.

Verlander faced his toughest jam in the sixth. Aaron Boone led off with a double and, one out later, Verlander hit Casey Blake. But the rookie then struck out Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner swinging to end the inning.

The Tigers made it 3-1 in the eighth with an RBI single by Placido Polanco.

Notes: Right-handed reliever Ramon Colon will take LHP Mike Maroth’s spot in Detroit’s starting rotation. Maroth is on the 15-day DL because of irritation in his left elbow. Colon will start Tuesday. … Sizemore stretched his hitting streak to eight games (11-for-35).

AP-ES-05-27-06 2248EDT


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