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Published: Sunday, 7/15/2007

Rodriguez suspended for 1 game


NEW YORK - Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez has been suspended for one game yesterday by Major League Baseball for his conduct during a game against the Seattle Mariners.

Rodriguez, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, was ejected from Thursday's game in the fourth inning for arguing that he was interfered with while trying to throw out a base stealer.

As the 14-time all-star was trying to throw out Adrian Beltre at second base, batter Yuniesky Betancourt was bent over and astride the plate. Rodriguez avoided making contact with Betancourt, but his throw sailed over second base and into center field for an error that allowed Beltre to advance to third.

While Beltre was still running, Rodriguez gestured with one arm and then bent over and pointed at the plate with both hands to plate umpire Mike Winters, demonstrating how he felt Betancourt had impeded him. Winters yelled back at Rodriguez, "You never touched him!"

Rodriguez then moved toward Winters and appeared to come close to bumping the umpire chest-to-chest - if not making contact.

Tigers 6, Mariners 3

SEATTLE - When Jeremy Bonderman is on the mound, veteran Detroit manager Jim Leyland knows he can feel confident.

An early grand slam from slugger Gary Sheffield certainly boosts confidence as well.

Sheffield put aside his controversial comments about Joe Torre, Barry Bonds and the New York Yankees, and provided Bonderman all the

offense he needed Friday night as the Tigers beat Seattle.

"I think Bonderman is one of those guys, to be honest with you, that when he pitches the guys feel good," Leyland said. "When Kenny Rogers pitches, they feel good. When Justin Verlander pitches, they feel good. When your players feel good behind a guy, I think that's a big lift."

Certainly, Sheffield was a huge lift on Friday.

It was a long day for Sheffield, who fielded questions before the game about his comments to HBO's Real Sports regarding the treatment of black and white players by Torre in the Yankees' clubhouse and his past relationship with Bonds.

He then went out and hit the 12th grand slam of his career and 22nd homer this season, staking Bonderman to an early lead and overshadowing a solid performance from the right-hander.

That was fine by Bonderman, who became the 12th pitcher in the American League to reach double-figures in wins.

Bonderman (10-1), who grew up about 4 1/2 hours southeast of

Seattle, stymied the team he watched as a kid. Bonderman threw just 71 pitches through six innings, and didn't face his first 3-ball count until the seventh.

He pitched seven innings, struck out five, and allowed just six hits, joining teammate Justin Verlander with 10 wins.

Todd Jones gave up two hits in the ninth before striking out pinch hitter Ben Broussard for his 23rd save in 27 opportunities.

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