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Published: Saturday, 4/19/2008

Renteria homer lifts Tigers

ASSOCIATED PRESS

TORONTO - Manager Jim Leyland said his Detroit Tigers aren't at full speed yet, but they're certainly getting there.

Edgar Renteria hit a two-run home run, Kenny Rogers won for the first time since July and the Tigers beat the Blue Jays 8-4 last night, handing Toronto its sixth consecutive home defeat.

"When we're rolling, and we haven't been rolling yet, we figure we can strike anytime and strike good," Leyland said.

The Blue Jays have not won at home since April 6, when they completed a three-game sweep of Boston. It's Toronto's longest home losing streak since an eight-game skid from April 5-17, 2004.

Renteria, who singled home a run in the ninth, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

"They're tough any way you look at it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "They got off to a slow start but you knew that wasn't going to last."

Detroit, which started the season 0-7, has won four of five and is averaging 7.8 runs per game over that span.

"There's no doubt about our offense," Rogers said. "We can score runs. My goal after I messed up in the fifth was to stay out there long enough to be there when we did mount an attack."

Rogers (1-3) worked 62/3 innings to win for the first time since July 4, when he beat Cleveland 6-4. He allowed four runs and three hits, walked four and struck out one.

"He was very, very good tonight," Leyland said. "He had that one little stretch where his control left him just for a split second, but other than that he was great against a club that's been really tough on him."

The 43-year-old Rogers was limited to 11 starts last season because of shoulder and elbow problems.

"I felt great today," Rogers said. "I was really comfortable with what I was trying to do."

Aquilino Lopez finished the seventh, Denny Bautista worked the eighth and Todd Jones pitched the ninth.

Detroit erased a 4-3 deficit in the seventh against right-hander Jeremy Accardo (0-3). The Tigers tied it with back-to-back doubles from Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez, then went ahead when shortstop John McDonald couldn't handle Carlos Guillen's grounder.

Edgar Renteria greeted left-hander Scott Downs with a two-run homer, his second. It's the first time Downs has allowed a run in seven appearances this season.

Accardo, who saved 30 games for Toronto in 2007, has a 10.29 ERA in eight games.

"When things go bad they go real bad," Accardo said. You've got to just use your head and use what you're good at and go back to basics."

Miguel Cabrera put Detroit in front with a sacrifice fly in the first, but Toronto's Rod Barajas tied it with a solo drive to center in the second, his first.

Toronto left-hander David Purcey struggled with his control in his major league debut, walking seven over 41/3 innings. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out three.

"The walks wasn't what I really wanted but I did make pitches when I needed to," Purcey said. "I just tried to keep our team in the game and ended up doing that. Just anxiety and jitters and nervousness, whatever you want to call it, got to me a little bit and I ended up walking more people than I wanted to."

Purcey was called up to start in place of A.J. Burnett, who came out of the bullpen in Wednesday's 14-inning loss to Texas. Burnett was pushed back to tomorrow.

The Blue Jays' first-round pick in the June, 2004 draft, Purcey was sent back to Triple-A Syracuse after the game after Toronto purchased the contract of right-hander Shawn Camp from Triple-A. To make room for Camp on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated right-hander Josh Banks for assignment.

Tigers second baseman Placido Polanco returned to the lineup after skipping Thursday's game with a stiff back. Polanco, who went 0-for-2 with three walks, is expected to sit out today, giving him a break from Toronto's artificial turf.

Guillen left the game after fouling two pitches off his left shin in the ninth, but is expected to play today.

Toronto's Frank Thomas finished 0-for-4 and is hitless in his past 13 at-bats.

NOTES: Cabrera celebrated his 25th birthday. ... Ordonez collected his 999th RBI. With his next, he will join Andres Galarraga as the only two Venezuelans to drive in 1,000 runs. ... Detroit outrighted RHP Francis Beltran to Triple-A Toledo. Beltran was designated for assignment earlier this week when the Tigers called up RHP Armando Galarraga.



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