Tigers extend Devil Rays' losing streak to 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Nate Robertson was just happy

Detroit won, even if he didn't benefit personally from the Tigers'

ejection-marred victory over the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Robertson, who threw complete games in two of his previous three

starts, was tossed for throwing his only pitch behind a batter in

retaliation for Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir hitting Placido Polanco in

the leg with the first pitch of the game.

The left-hander spent the rest of the night watching the Tigers'

bullpen sparkle on the way to a 7-3 win that extended Tampa Bay's

losing streak to 10 games.

"You know what? We won the game, and it's a good win,"

Robertson said after Detroit won for the fourth straight time since

falling a season-high six games under .500 earlier in the week.

Despite pitching well, Robertson has lost his last two decisions

-- 2-1 to Chicago and 1-0 to New York -- because of a lack of run

support. This time, the Tigers gave him a four-run before he even

stepped on the mound.

"It's just a pitch that got away from me," Robertson said,

denying that he threw at leadoff man Carl Crawford. "Bottom line,

it just got away from me."

The Tigers starter also scoffed at the suggestion that he wasted

a good opportunity to win.

"I didn't lose anything. It's not about my record," Robertson

said. "It's not about anything that I do, as long as we win the


Craig Monroe homered and had a season-high five RBI for the

Tigers, including a two-run, first-inning single that came one

pitch after right fielder Aubrey Huff overran a fly ball that

should have been caught in foul territory for the third out.

Monroe added a sacrifice fly off Kazmir (3-7) in the third and

hit a two-run homer off Dewon Brazelton for a 7-0 lead in the


Franklyn German (3-0) replaced Robertson and allowed one hit in

three innings to get the victory. Fernando Rodney yielded one hit

in three scoreless innings before the Devil Rays broke through

against Doug Creek, scoring on Toby Hall's sacrifice fly in the

seventh and Nick Green's two-run homer in the ninth.

The loss was the 13th in 14 games for the Devil Rays, and their

10-game skid matches the longest in the majors this year. Colorado

lost 10 straight April 24-May 7.

Plate umpire Tim McClelland immediately tossed Robertson when

the left-hander's pitch sailed several feet behind Crawford.

Tigers manager Alan Trammell briefly argued the ejection while

German was summoned from the bullpen. He said he didn't see the

pitch because he was making notations about the Tigers' four-run


"I don't normally miss the first pitch. That was the farthest

thing from my mind. We have a four-run lead, I'm feeling pretty

good. ... My balloon got burst real quick," Trammell said.

McClelland didn't issue a warning when Kazmir hit Polanco

because he didn't feel it was intentional. The 21-year-old rookie

began the night leading the AL in walks and Polanco was the seventh

batter he's plunked this season.

"It was the first pitch of the game. There wasn't any history

or anything. Polanco hadn't been hitting the ball, he hadn't done

anything to merit being thrown at. I just think the pitch got away

from him," McClelland said.

The crew chief didn't feel the same way about Robertson's lone


"When it's three feet behind a guy, yeah, then I'm pretty sure

that's intentional," McClelland said.

Kazmir denied throwing at the Tigers' leadoff man.

"There was no way I had any intention against Polanco. ... It

was just the first pitch, trying to go inside with it. It just flew

out and went straight for him."

Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella went to his bullpen after Kazmir

faltered in the third.

McClelland issued a warning to the left-hander before the start

of the second, but did not eject him when Kazmir threw wildly

behind Vance Wilson before walking the Tigers catcher with two outs

in the third.

Kazmir threw 74 pitches in three innings, allowing five runs and

five hits. He walked four, giving him 56 in 102 innings.

"He struggled with his command the whole time," Piniella said.

"The amazing part about it is the Detroit pitcher must have

thought he hit the guy intentionally, which couldn't be further

from the truth."

Jonny Gomes singled with one out in the third for the only hit

off German, who also walked Hall in the inning. The right-hander

ended the threat by retiring Crawford on a fly to deep center and

striking out Julio Lugo with Hall on third base.Game notes
In his previous three outings, Robertson allowed three

earned runs in 25 innings while limiting opponents to a .220

batting average. ... Detroit's Carlos Guillen, who has hit safely

in nine of 10 games, had the night off. ... Tigers All-Star catcher

Ivan Rodriguez sat out for the second straight game with a jammed

left pinky.