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HomeSportsPro
Published: 8/11/2008

Robertson ends victory drought

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT - It's been a long time since Nate Robertson last won a game.

The Tigers starter earned his first victory in more than six weeks, allowing five hits pitching into the eighth inning to lift Detroit past the Oakland Athletics 6-1 yesterday.

Curtis Granderson homered and Magglio Ordonez drove in two runs for Detroit, which took two of three from the A's. Oakland lost for the 12th time in 13 games.

Robertson (7-8) allowed a walk and one run, striking out five in 72/3 innings to win for the first time since June 21. Fernando Rodney finished for his third save in seven chances.

"There's plenty of games that I pitched well," Robertson said. "I just tried to go out and pitch well again. That's it."

The Athletics threatened in the fourth, loading the bases with two out. But Detroit second baseman Placido Polanco made a leaping snare of Kurt Suzuki's knuckling liner to end the inning.

"There was a little English on that ball," said Robertson. "A four-seamer. I didn't get it as much inside as I wanted it and [Suzuki] inside-outed it. [Polanco] stayed with it and made a good catch."

That began a string of 11 consecutive retired batters for Robertson, ending with Jack Hannahan's double with one out in the eighth.

"Nate was really good. His slider was much better," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "His fastball had a lot of late life to it."

Mark Ellis followed with a single to break up Robertson's shutout, but Rodney came on and got Frank Thomas to ground out, ending the inning.

Erratic Oakland starter Greg Smith (5-11) allowed only one run and three hits in 42/3 innings, but walked an unsightly seven batters.

"My whole body was out of sync. It seemed that my arm was dragging on every pitch," Smith said. "It was about the third inning that I was able to make adjustment and feel comfortable."

A's pitchers walked a total of 10 batters.

"It was just a matter of too many walks," said Oakland manager Bob Geren. "We worked hard to win this series, which would have been our first in a while, but we just couldn't do it."

Granderson gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the fifth when he led off with his 15th homer, lining an 0-1 pitch from Smith into the right-field stands.

"Ball down the middle of the plate, was able to get it to go out of the ballpark," Granderson said.

Detroit made it 4-0 in the sixth, beginning with Polanco's bases-loaded single. Ordonez added a two-out, bases-loaded single to drive in two more, all the runs coming off struggling A's closer Huston Street.

The Tigers added two in the eighth on Ryan Raburn's RBI double and a throwing error by pitcher Jerry Blevins on the play, which allowed Raburn to score.

NOTES: Left fielder Marcus Thames was scratched from the starting lineup because of a sore right shoulder. He was listed as day-to-day. ... Third baseman Carlos Guillen missed his second consecutive game with lower back spasms. Leyland said Guillen could play tonight against Toronto. ... Oakland completed its first 1-9 road trip since 1981. ... It was also the Athletics' eighth-straight series loss. The last time that happened was 1994. ... Polanco was 1-for-5. He is now hitting .417 (53-for-127) for his career against Oakland. ... Hannahan's double in the eighth ended an 0-for-28 hitless streak.



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