Tigers 5, Rangers 2


ARLINGTON, Texas – Chris Shelton pushed his major league-leading home run total to five with a two-run drive and the Detroit Tigers remained the AL’s only unbeaten team with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Tigers starter Mike Maroth (1-0) gave up one run and eight hits with one walk in 5 1-3 innings. Relievers Jason Grilli, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney combined to allow one run and three hits over the final 3 2-3 innings. Rodney worked the ninth for his second save.

Marcus Thames matched a career high with three hits for Detroit.

The Tigers have won their first four games and are off to their best start since 2004. They lead the majors with 16 homers.

Michael Young homered for the Rangers, who have dropped four of five to begin the season.

John Koronka (0-1) allowed four runs and six hits over five innings in his Rangers debut. He struck out one and didn’t issue a walk.

Koronka, acquired from the Chicago Cubs last week in a three-team trade, had been sent to the bullpen by the Cubs in the spring. But Koronka has been a starter throughout most of his career and was moved into the fifth slot in the Texas rotation.

With wind gusting around 35 mph, fly balls were a challenge. In the second, Rangers right fielder Kevin Mench overran Shelton’s wind-blown fly ball that fell in for a double.

The Rangers took the lead on Young’s solo homer in the first, his first of the season.

Carlos Guillen’s RBI single in the second tied it at 1, then Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock’s fielding error on Craig Monroe’s grounder allowed Shelton to score the second run of the inning.

Shelton’s two-run drive off Koronka in the fourth stretched Detroit’s lead to 4-1.

Detroit loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth and Magglio Ordonez scored from third on a double play to make it 5-1.

Texas pulled to 5-2 in the seventh on Mark Teixeira’s RBI single off Zumaya.

Notes: Shelton’s first four homers of the season were with the bases empty. … Rangers manager Buck Showalter is considering several options for Tuesday night’s road start against the Los Angeles Angels, including Koronka on three days’ rest. Koronka threw 71 pitches Friday night. … Knuckeballer R.A. Dickey was originally slotted for Tuesday night’s start, but was sent to the minors on Friday after giving up six homers to the Tigers on Thursday night. … RHP Rick Bauer was brought up from Triple-A Oklahoma before the game and made his Rangers debut in relief of Koronka. … Detroit has won six of the last eight meetings with Texas.

AP-ES-04-07-06 2247EDT