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Published: Saturday, 4/5/2008

Tigers only team in major league to remain winless

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - For the Detroit Tigers, 2008 is starting to resemble 2003.

A.J. Pierzynski drove in five runs with three hits, including a tie-breaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning yesterday that led the Chicago White Sox over the Tigers 8-5.

Detroit, the only winless team in the major leagues, is 0-4 for the first time since the Tigers dropped their first nine games in 2003 en route to an AL-record 119 losses. Not exactly the start hoped for by Detroit, which at $138.7 million opened the season with the second-highest payroll in the major leagues behind the New York Yankees.

"We've just got bad combinations going," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We got pretty good pitching the first three games. Today we swung the bat better, but we didn't add runs and didn't pitch quite as well."

He talked about the expectations and how the fans are dealing with the sorry start.

"When you're in this business, you have to understand that's part of it, and if you don't, you're in the wrong business," Leyland said. "I don't blame people for being antsy and impatient. They've waited the whole winter, and we haven't given them much to be excited about."

Ivan Rodriguez had three hits and drove two runs for Detroit, which was swept by Kansas City at home to start the season.

Carlos Quentin also homered for Chicago.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen predicts the Tigers will be one of the league's best teams.

"They have so much talent, so much experience," he said. "They're not going to panic. And their manager always pushes the right buttons."

Boone Logan (1-0) got the final three outs in the sixth, relieving after Brandon Inge singled off starter Jose Contreras. Bobby Jenks pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save in as many chances.

Jason Grilli (0-1) gave up three runs and five hits in one inning.

Grilli relieved with the score tied 5-5 in the seventh. Three pitches later, the White Sox led 8-5.

Paul Konerko led off with a double, Jermaine Dye singled on the next pitch to send him to third and Pierzynski followed with a home run into the right-field seats.

"He sat on the changeup like he knew it was coming," Grilli said. "I just made a bad pitch."

Pierzynski is batting .529 (9-for-17) with two home runs and seven RBIs.

"I really don't want to get in to specific reasons why. Maybe it's just luck," he said. "You go up there and try to swing and get the ball up the middle. Everything that I worked on in spring training just came into place."

Pierzynski also doubled twice.

Quentin and Joe Crede followed his home run with consecutive singles and Grilli threw a wild pitch before Juan Uribe grounded into a double play and Orlando Cabrera struck out.

Grilli said there's too many games left to overreact to the Tigers' start.

"If people are panicking, it's way too early to panic," he said. "It's a long season."

Contreras gave up five runs - four earned - 10 hits and four walks.

Tigers starter Nate Robertson allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings.

NOTES: DH Gary Sheffield missed the game because of a torn tendon in his finger suffered on Thursday. But Leyland said Sheffield should be able to play when the swelling goes down. He's day to day. ... Chicago is 20-9 at Comerica Park since 2005. ... Cabrera was the DH after sitting out Thursday's game with left quadriceps soreness. He was 1-for 2 with three walks. Brandon Inge played 3B in his place for the second time.



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