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D-TRAIN'S EXPRESS RUN.....TIGERS 4, Texas 0, T 5/19/09
Posted on: 05-19-2009

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    For one night at least,
Dontrelle Willis was the pitcher
Detroit gave a 3-year contract
to upon obtaining him in a DEC,
2007 deal.
    In his second MLB start this
season, Willis was surprisingly
amazing in a 4-0 Tuesday night
win over the Texas Rangers.
    Willis allowed just 1-H & 2-W in
his 6.1-IP, throwing 61 of his even
100 pitches for strikes. Willis whiffed the side in the T-2nd and was removed
after walking Rangers clean-up man Andrew Jones on a 3-2 pitch to end  
Willis' string of retiring 17 Texicans in a row.
    Willis picked up his first MLB victory since 9/25/2007 with the Florida
    The only hit off Willis, in fact the only hit off Tiger pitching all night long,
was a 2-out double by Michael Young in the T-1st. That was followed by a
4-pitch walk to Jones. However, instead of self-destructing as he often has
during his brief Tiger career, Willis buckled down to set down the next 17
    It wasn't like Willis was victimizing the 1962 New York Mets for his most
impressive Detroit performance. Although miunus injured All-Star CFielder Josh
Hamilton, this was a Texas team which had won seven straight and 13-of-15 to
climb atop the AL-West standings at 23-14 entering Tuesday play.
    After Willis (W, 1-0) was removed in the T-7th to a standing ovation, four Tiger
relievers combined for a perfect 2.2-IP to finish the combined shutout. Brandon
Lyon (1-K) and Bobby Seay each faced one batter to complete the T-7th. Joel
Zumaya (2-K) and Fernando Rodney both pitched a complete frame.
    Detroit scored single runs in each of the first three innings off Rangers
starter Brandon McCarthy (L, 3-2) on a Jeff Larish sac-fly, a 2-out RBI-1B by
Placido Polanco and another sac-fly by Gerald Laird. McCarthy then settled down
to retire 12 consecutive Tigers until Clete Thomas singled with 2-out in the B-7th
and scored on a Miguel Cabrera RBI-2B off the LCField fence.
    Cabrera was 2-for-3 with 1-W and Curtis Granderson 2-for-5 (on a pair of singles
in the first 2-INN) as the only batters in the ballgame with multiple basehits.
    Detroit's fourth straight win puts the AL-Central leading Tigers a season-high
five games over the .500-mark at 21-16.
    An announced  crowd of 23,756 watched a quickie contest which took only 2:20
to play.

      TEX     0-1-1, 3-LOB       (L) McCarthy, 3-2
      DET     4-10-0, 9-LOB     (W) Willis, 1-0          

TIGERS MGR JIM LEYLAND:   "(Willis) was tremendous. Hopefully we can build on that
...We’re going to take our time with it and let it develop.”

TIGERS SP DONTRELLE WILLIS:   "“I appreciate (the cheers)...Now that I feel healthy
and strong, I think I can start building some trust out there.”

RANGERS 2B IAN KINSLER:   "(Willis) threw the ball well. You never want to downplay it
when somebody does that. He threw the ball well after all he’s been through. He did a
great job.”


    The combined whitewash was the sixth shutout by the Detroit pitching staff this
season to tie the NL Cincinnati Reds for most in the majors. It was the first shutout
by the Tigers vs Texas in Detroit since 8/30/1999 at Tiger Stadium.
    Detroit has won nine straight over Texas at Comerica Park including four this year.
    Hamilton is day-to-day with a groin strain suffered Sunday.
    Willis' only previous victory at the CoPa was a 9-2 complete game "W" while pitching
for Florida against Detroit on 6/13/2004.
    Joyce Stearns Thompson, daughter of Baseball HoFamer Norman "Turkey" Stearns
(Detroit Stars) sang the national anthem before Tuesday's game.
    Tigers LHP Nate Robertson threw long toss and a few pitches from the mound
Tuesday and said he expects to be ready to come off the 15-day DL on Thursday
from his lower back strain.   
    The Tigers called-up OF Wilkin Ramirez to replace Magglio Ordonez (bereavement list)
on the 25-man roster. In 30 games with 3A Toledo the Mud Hens, Ramirez had a .316-BA
(37x117) with 3-2B, 1-3B, 5-HR, 13-RBI & 14-SB. Ramirez DNP Tuesday. He's expected
to DH for Detroit Wednesday.
    Wednesday night's middle game of the 3-game series has Tigers RHP Justin
Verlander (3-2) vs Rangers LHP Matt Harrison (4-2) listed as probable pitchers.


    Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps 1Bman Ronnie Bourquin was named Midwest LGE
Player-of-the-Week for the period of May 11th--18th. In six games Bourquin batted
.522 (12x23) with 7-R, 4-2B, 2-HR & 8-RBI.



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