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Published: Tuesday, 7/28/2009

Rookie pitcher Hunter stymies Detroit bats

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler tags out the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, who was trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning. Granderson had three hits including a homer. Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler tags out the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, who was trying to stretch a single into a double in the third inning. Granderson had three hits including a homer.
LM OTERO / AP Enlarge

ARLINGTON, Texas - Rookie Tommy Hunter pitched a career-high seven innings, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young homered, and the Texas Rangers finally beat the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers 5-2 Monday night.

The Rangers had lost the first six meetings with the Tigers this season to drop to 3-14 against them over the last three years before Hunter (3-1) pitched Texas to its seventh victory in eight games.

Hunter allowed one run and five hits in his sixth major league start. C.J. Wilson pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances, finishing it off in a light rain.

Young, who homered leading off the eighth, has three consecutive three-hit games for the first time in his career and the fourth time in the majors this season, first in the AL.

Curtis Granderson hit his 19th career leadoff homer and had three hits for the Tigers, 4-7 since the All-Star break.

Armando Galarraga (5-9) picked up victories in his first two career starts against Texas, but did not fare as well the third time around, allowing four runs and six hits in seven innings. Galarraga was a Rangers farmhand before he was traded to Detroit in February 2008.

After giving up a one-out single to Young in the first, Galarraga retired the next 12 batters. Cruz stopped the streak with a long drive to left-center in the fifth, tying it at 1 with his 24th homer.

Texas grabbed control with three runs in the sixth. Elvis Andrus led off with a double and went to third on Young's one-out single to center. When Granderson's throw to the infield missed the cutoff man and rolled into foul territory, Andrus raced home with the go-ahead run. Hank Blalock added a two-run double later in the inning.

Granderson hit Hunter's second pitch into the right-field seats for his 20th homer of the season.

Josh Hamilton hit in the No. 7 slot for the first time in his two seasons in Texas, going 0 for 4. Hamilton is hitless in his last 15 at-bats and is in a 2-for-32 slide.

NOTES: The Rangers are almost totally over the flu bug which spread through the clubhouse last week, affecting several players and coaches. RHP Vicente Padilla, who was scratched from today's start due to flu-like symptoms, is healthy again and will return to the rotation next Tuesday. ... Texas closer Frank Francisco is recovering from pneumonia, and manager Ron Washington said he did not know when he would be activated. Francisco is over the pneumonia, but has to build up his stamina. ... Texas RHP Kevin Millwood was feeling better after leaving Sunday's game against the Royals with a strained left gluteus muscle. Millwood was optimistic he would be ready for Friday night's start against Seattle.

KNAPP COLLAPSES: Detroit pitching coach Rick Knapp was with the team for last night's game against the Rangers after collapsing on the Tigers' charter flight to Texas earlier in the day.

Knapp was rushed to a hospital for tests after the plane arrived in Texas from Detroit. Doctors ruled out a heart attack or any other serious problem.

Doctors requested Knapp be hospitalized overnight for observation, but Knapp declined, insisting he wanted to be with the team.

Knapp told the Detroit News he lost consciousness for two minutes shortly after feeling nauseous and was revived by trainer Kevin Rand. Knapp said the problem could have stemmed from a combination of a prescription cold medication, one cocktail, and the food he ate on the flight.

METS FIRE VP: New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya fired a team executive for a series of blowups, then openly questioned the motives of a local beat writer who reported the turmoil after asking about getting a job in baseball.

Vice president of player personnel Tony Bernazard was dismissed after getting into a heated argument with All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez, challenging Double-A players to a fight and berating a team employee over a seating mix-up.



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