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Rodriguez Helps Defeat Marlins

He homers in his first game against the team he led to a World Series title last season.

June 12, 2004|From Associated Press

DETROIT — Ivan Rodriguez homered in his first game against his former team, helping the Detroit Tigers beat the Florida Marlins, 8-4, on Friday night.

Dmitri Young hit a three-run shot for his first homer of the year, and Carlos Guillen hit a two-run homer for the Tigers.

"This was a special night," said Rodriguez, the catcher who helped Florida win the World Series last October.

The 10-time All-Star catcher signed a $40 million, four-year contract with Detroit in the off-season, and he's a big reason the Tigers have improved so quickly after losing an AL-record 119 games in 2003.

At 28-32, they are a game ahead of Florida's 60-game pace last season.

Before the game, he spent much of batting practice chatting with his former teammates.

Gary Knotts (4-1), another former Marlin, got the win. He gave up four runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, helping the Tigers improve to 3-1 in interleague play.

Former Tiger minor leaguer Tommy Phelps (1-1) took the loss, giving up six runs and six hits in three-plus innings.

Detroit took a 1-0 lead on Omar Infante's sacrifice fly in the third, then scored six times in the fourth. The first five batters of the inning scored on homers by Young and Guillen, who set a career high with his 10th of the season.

Michael Neu replaced Phelps and got the first out of the inning, but Eric Munson singled and scored on Infante's triple to make it 7-0.

Knotts was perfect through four innings, but Miguel Cabrera led off the fifth with an infield single and moved up when Hee Seop Choi walked. Damion Easley followed with an RBI single, and Lenny Harris' groundout drove in another run.

Cabrera led off the seventh with his 16th homer, and Harris had an RBI double to pull Florida to within 7-4, chasing Knotts.

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