Inside Pitch: Granderson Comes Up Clutch
Granderson ripped the game winner
Granderson ripped the game winner
Sports Exchange MLB Reports
Posted May 24, 2006


Curtis Granderson is no longer technically a rookie, but he is the newest member to the team. That hasn't kept him from coming up big for the Tigers - on Saturday night he hit the game-tying home run in the ninth, and then on Tuesday night in Kansas City, Granderson ripped a two-out double that scored the game winning run.

INSIDE PITCH
RHP Justin Verlander is off to a sensational start for Detroit. Will the Tigers have to slow him down?

After Verlander's complete-game shutout of Kansas City on Monday, he had pitched a team-high 60 innings.

Manager Jim Leyland says he's well aware of the load the 23-year-old is carrying.

"It's a concern and I'll take care of it," Leyland said. "You can be a little creative. The way off-days fall sometimes, you can have a power arm skip a start and still have everyone else fall on their regular day."

Verlander worked a combined 130 innings in 2005 in both the minors and majors. He was shut down early with shoulder fatigue.

Conventional wisdom these days says young pitchers should be held to annual innings increases of 20-25 percent.

Leyland said earlier he might use a sixth starter late in the season to give his starters an extra day of rest.

REPLAY: Curtis Granderson's two-run double with two out in the eighth inning Tuesday night keyed a four-run inning that produced Detroit's come-from-behind 8-5 victory over the slumping Kansas City Royals.

Craig Monroe began the two-out rally by coaxing a walk from the Royals' Ambiorix Burgos. Omar Infante and Brandon Inge dropped singles into the outfield for a run that drew Detroit within a run at 5-4.

Granderson, whose RBI double in the seventh was the second of his three hits, lined a double into left-center to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead. Placido Polanco's RBI single made it 7-5.

Starting pitcher Kenny Rogers went 6 1/3 innings for Detroit, but gave up four home runs -- good for all five Kansas City runs. RHP Joel Zumaya worked 1 2/3 innings for his second major league win and RHP Todd Jones finished up for his 14th save. SS Carlos Guillen hit a two-run home run to halve a 4-0 Royals' lead.

NOTES, QUOTES
--LHP Kenny Rogers wasn't sharp early Tuesday night, and it cost him his shot at his eighth victory.

Rogers gave up three home runs in the first two innings at Kansas City and another in the seventh before departing.

The veteran doubled his season's home run total in one start. He's now given up eight home runs this season. Rogers didn't struggle with his control a great deal, but he wobbled at critical times early before settling down.

--CF Curtis Granderson seems to be re-adjusting to pitchers.

Granderson started the season hitting well, but sagged late last month and saw his average drop to the .250 neighborhood.

But lately, the center fielder has been picking it up at the plate.

He had three hits Tuesday to raise his average to .268. Two of his hits went for doubles, driving in a total of three runs.

--DH Omar Infante filled in for SS Carlos Guillen on Monday and DH Dmitri Young on Tuesday.

He had three hits as Guillen's sub and two as the DH Tuesday to nudge his batting average up over .300.

"He's 6-for-14 against this guy (starting RHP Runelvys Hernandez)," Leyland noted. Neither of his hits Tuesday was off Hernandez.

Infante went into Tuesday's game hitting .364 in the first seven games he had played in May.

--3B Jack Hannahan is finally getting a shot at the major leagues.

Hannahan, Detroit's third-round choice out of Minnesota in the 2001 draft, had stalled out at the Triple-A level before his call-up Tuesday to replace disabled DH Dmitri Young. He was hitting.282 with four home runs and 23 RBI in 38 games for Toledo.

"Hopefully, he can hit," Manager Jim Leyland said. "I do know this kid is supposed to be a real good third baseman. If I want to give (Brandon) Inge a day off; I've got a left-handed bat and a very good third baseman. I'm anxious to see him."

Leyland said Hannahan can play first, second and third bases, with third his best position.

--DH Dmitri Young, struggling to hit fastballs left-handed, was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with the goal of eventually sending him on a rehab assignment to get his bat up to speed.

That won't happen, according to manager Jim Leyland, until Young gets his strained quad muscle strong enough so it no longer slows him down.

"He's got to get it right first," Leyland said. "He won't go on a rehab assignment before it gets better. Those tweaks can turn into weeks."

Young was idled early in spring training with a sore quad, and then was placed on the disabled list early in the season for the same reason.

The switch-hitter is hitting under .200, but has been especially vulnerable from the left side of the plate.


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