DETROIT (AP) – Brandon Inge hit a leadoff homer and a two-run double, and Jason Johnson recovered from a rough start to pitch eight strong innings in the Detroit Tigers’ 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

Inge, Omar Infante and Ivan Rodriguez had three hits apiece for the Tigers, who got their fourth victory in five games. One day after San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt shut out Detroit 4-0, the Tigers pounded out 14 hits – two shy of their season high.

Rondell White also hit a first-inning homer and Craig Shelton drove in two runs – but Johnson (5-5) didn’t really need so much help while mowing down the Giants.

After allowing two runs in the first inning thanks to his own throwing error, the right-hander rarely faced trouble. He allowed nine hits and three walks, but pitched at least eight innings for the sixth time in his last seven full starts.

The Tigers got 11 hits off beleaguered left-hander Kirk Rueter (2-6), who has just one win in nine starts since April. Taking the mound in Detroit for the first time in his 13-year career, Rueter allowed at least two baserunners in every inning, gave up six runs and couldn’t get an out in the fifth.

Detroit scored four runs in the fifth against Rueter and reliever Brandon Puffer, who struggled in his San Francisco debut. Inge capped the rally with a two-run double.

Both franchises have roots in their respective leagues’ founding days near the turn of the 20th century, but the Giants had never played in Detroit before this weekend. Comerica Park was packed with 38,461 fans, mostly because they bought tickets last winter expecting injured slugger Barry Bonds to be in San Francisco’s lineup.

The Giants scored two runs in the first when Johnson’s poor throw to second base ruined what should have been an inning-ending double play.

But Inge hit Rueter’s second pitch more than 420 feet into the shrubs beyond center field – and two batters later, White hit his first homer in two weeks to right-center.

In the second, Infante ended an 0-for-17 skid with a double that landed right on the padded top of the outfield wall. He scored on a single by Placido Polanco, who took Infante’s starting job at second base when he joined the Tigers 10 days ago in a trade with Philadelphia.

Infante had his first multihit game since May 18. The slumping infielder, playing shortstop for the first time this season after making 48 starts at second base.

Notes: When Giants closer Tyler Walker ended Friday’s game with three straight strikeouts, he became the first pitcher to strike out the side with the bases loaded to end a game since baseball began keeping track of saves in 1969, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Inge’s leadoff homer was his third of the season and his career. … Puffer’s contract was purchased from Triple-A Fresno on Friday when LaTroy Hawkins went on the DL.

AP-ES-06-18-05 2148EDT


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