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Thames' grand slam pushes Tigers past Mariners 9-4

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[May 22, 2008]  DETROIT (AP) -- Marcus Thames hit a grand slam that highlighted a seven-run third inning and the Detroit Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners 9-4 Wednesday night.

The Tigers opened their big inning with five straight singles off Jarrod Washburn (2-6) before Thames drove his fifth career slam into the Detroit bullpen in left field. Kenny Rogers (4-4) allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings. Richie Sexson and Yuniesky Betancourt hit solo homers for the Mariners.

Thames doubled in the second and scored Detroit's first run on Brandon Inge's two-out double.

Ivan Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen had RBI singles in the Tigers third, setting up Thames' slam. The four RBIs were a season high for Thames.

Washburn was pulled after giving up 12 hits and all nine runs in 2 1-3 innings. It was his shortest start since Sept. 19, 2006.

The Mariners, beaten 12-8 by the Tigers on Tuesday night, are an AL-worst 7-16 on the road.

Betancourt homered to begin the third and Sexson homered to open the sixth. Rogers gave up a bases-loaded single to Adrian Beltre in the fifth and walked Raul Ibanez to force home another run before ending the threat.

Tigers relievers Zach Miner and Francisco Cruceta combined to allow just two baserunners after Rogers was pulled.

Detroit managed only two hits after its big inning.

Notes: Thames' previous slam came last Aug. 10 against Oakland. ... The Tigers recalled LHP Dontrelle Willis from a rehab assignment and placed LHP Clay Rapada (biceps tendinitis) on the 15-day disabled list. Willis was available to throw out of the bullpen. Manager Jim Leyland said Willis, who has made just two starts for the Tigers, will eventually return to the rotation. ... Inge played left, center and third at various points of the game. ... "Home Improvement" sitcom costar Richard Karn threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

[Associated Press; By CHARLES ODUM]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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