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Published: Tuesday, 9/9/2008

Sheffield leads rout of A's

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Gary Sheffield smacks a grand slam in the second inning last night. He had five RBIs. Gary Sheffield smacks a grand slam in the second inning last night. He had five RBIs.
DUANE BURLESON / AP Enlarge

DETROIT - Gary Sheffield still needs four home runs to reach 500. In the meantime, he provided a milestone for Major League Baseball.

His second home run of the night was the 250,000th in major league history, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Oakland Athletics 14-8.

Sheffield was mostly thinking about hitting No. 500.

"It really probably won't hit me until I get one or two away. Really, to me, four isn't close," he said. "You have to be at one or two. I can hit two in a game, I've never hit three."

Sheffield drove in five runs. He smacked his 13th career grand slam.

Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera, and Mike Hessman also went deep for the Tigers, who won their third straight.

"A lot of guys put good swings on the ball and hit the ball out of the ballpark," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Rajai Davis and Jack Hannahan each drove in two runs for Oakland, which has lost five of seven.

Both starting pitchers struggled. Zach Miner of the Tigers gave up eight runs and 11 hits in 41/3 innings, and rookie Gio Gonzalez (1-4) allowed a career-high nine runs - eight earned - and five hits in 12/3 innings. Gonzalez hit two batters and walked two.

"It was a tough loss. I take the blame on this one," Gonzalez said. "It was a learning experience for me. I can only turn the page and see what happens tomorrow."

In his first seven starts, Gonzalez has lasted more than five innings just once.

Gonzalez also put himself in the history books, in a dubious manner.

He hit Hessman twice in the second inning. It's only the fifth time in modern baseball history that a batter has been hit twice in the same inning, the second time in the American League. The first was Brady Anderson on May 23, in 1999, when he was hit twice in the first inning by Mike Morgan.

Hessman got his revenge with a home run in the eighth inning off reliever Jeff Gray, who was making his major league debut.

Reliever Casey Fossum (3-1) got the win for the Tigers, pitching 22/3 hitless innings. He came in and got the last two outs in the fifth after Oakland scored five in the inning to cut the deficit to 12-8.

"Hitting is contagious, and things kind of snowballed that inning," Fossum said. "I'm left-handed, a little different look. And I was able to slow it down a little bit."

Detroit went ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the first on a two-run homer by Ordonez and a solo shot by Sheffield one out later.



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