SAN FRANCISCO Marcus Thames has been hitting home runs at a rate that not even Barry Bonds could match.
Thames homered in his fifth straight game and Kenny Rogers pitched seven strong innings to help the Detroit Tigers beat the San Francisco Giants 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Thames matched the franchise record for consecutive games with a homer and Edgar Renteria recorded his 2,000th career hit, beating out an infield single in the sixth, as Detroit ended a four-game road losing streak. The first three road setbacks were in Oakland two weeks ago.
That one felt good, said Thames, who led off the ninth with a home run against Vinnie Chulk, an estimated 450-foot shot over the center field fence. Only Bonds has ever reached that part of the park.
That s good company, Thames said. I used to love watching him hit here. He was one of my favorites.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was also impressed by Thames, who has three home runs in two games against the Giants.
I know one way not to pitch him, he said. He is strong and taking advantage of the mistakes we are making to him.
Rogers (5-4) allowed five hits in seven innings to win in his 27th different ballpark while making an appearance in his 38th major-league park. Among active starters, only Jamie Moyer (46), Randy Johnson (43) and Livan Hernandez (39) have appeared in more.
The left-hander, facing the Giants for the first time since 2001, has compiled an overall 27-4 mark in the three different parks along the SF Bay. Rogers allowed one run, walked one and struck out two as he won for the first time in six starts despite an ERA of 1.76 over that span.
I want to get wins and pitch good, Rogers said. And I also know these guys are trying harder every time out. When Marcus made that catch (on Bengie Molina s sacrifice fly) I told him that was better than a home run. He made a great play and limited the damage. He s got such a great attitude it makes you feel good. It s been fun watching him.
Zach Minor pitched the eighth and Todd Jones, who escaped a bases-loaded situation of his own making, pitched the ninth to preserve the victory.
Each of his last eight hits have been homers. The last streak longer was Mark McGwire in 2001 when he had 11 straight according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
He s been impressive, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. We re all marveling at it right now. He hits some big ones. I don t mean long ones, but big ones, with the score tied.
Jonathan Sanchez (6-4) lost his first start since May 16 despite carrying a no-hitter into the sixth. He gave up three runs and six hits, walking three and striking out eight.
Everything was working right, Sanchez said. I just missed my spots and I didn t get ahead on the first guy. I cheated on my fastball and he got it.
Curtis Granderson broke up the no-hit bid with a leadoff single. After Rogers sacrificed him to second, Renteria hit a sharp grounder that Omar Vizquel fielded in the hole but had no chance to make a play.
I m happy for Renteria, Leyland said. I was fortunate enough to be there for his biggest hit and that one isn t in the books. It s in a special book.
Renteria, a five-time All-Star and a two-time Gold Glove winner, is known for his 11th-inning, game-winning hit that gave the 1997 World Series Championship to the Florida Marlins, managed by Leyland.
Placido Polanco singled to break the scoreless tie.
Molina s sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Fred Lewis with the tying run.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn, hitting for Rogers, drilled Sanchez s 1-0 pitch near the top of the left field bleachers. The Tigers added a run on Carlos Guillen s groundout.
Pinch hitter Jeff Larish added an RBI single in the ninth.
Notes: RHP Joel Zumaya was scheduled to make his final rehab appearance with Toledo of the International League before joining the Tigers this weekend. He pitched a bullpen session before the game instead. ... Tigers OF Gary Sheffield hit a home run in his first at bat for Lakeland. He s 1-for-4 with three walks and three runs scored in two games. ... Giants LHP Barry Zito is 7-5 with a 2.68 ERA against the Tigers and has won his last three decisions against them. ... The last Tiger to record home runs in five straight games was Willie Horton in 1969.