Tigers thump Jays in season opener

Posted: Tuesday, April 06, 2004

TORONTO Ivan Rodriguez and Rondell White homered in their Detroit debuts to back the pitching of Jason Johnson, another new addition, and the Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-0 on Monday.

Last year, Detroit began 0-9 and set an American League record with 119 losses. The Tigers, who hadn't won an opener since 2000, spent the offseason trying to rebuild a franchise that hasn't finished with a winning record since 1993.

Rodriguez, a 10-time All-Star who helped Florida win last year's World Series, homered in a three-run sixth inning. White, who finished last year with Kansas City, added a three-run homer off Roy Halladay in the seventh.

Johnson, signed by the Tigers after Baltimore let him go, allowed four hits in six innings and got the win. Al Levine, Jamie Walker and Esteban Yan combined for four-hit relief for the Tigers, who had just five shutouts last season.

Rodriguez and White each had two hits for the Tigers, who also signed Fernando Vina, Ugueth Urbina and Carlos Guillen as part of the rebuilding effort.

Halladay, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, was knocked around for seven runs six earned and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings. Halladay, who struck out nine, dropped to 9-2 against the Tigers.

Royals 9, White Sox 7

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Carlos Beltran hit a game-winning two run home run in the ninth to give the Royals a come-from-behind victory.

Trailing all day after Chicago scored four in the second, the Royals tied it 7-7 on Mendy Lopez's three-run pinch homer off Damaso Marte in the ninth.

Then after Angel Berroa singled, Beltran hit Marte's 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center, giving the Royals a 9-7 victory in front of 41,575 fans Kansas City's largest opening day crowd since becoming a major league town with the arrival of the Athletics in 1955.

Twins 7, Indians 4, 11 innings

MINNEAPOLIS Shannon Stewart hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 11th inning, giving Minnesota a comeback victory over Cleveland.

Travis Hafner hit two of Cleveland's three home runs, and Indians starter C.C. Sabathia pitched seven shutout innings with nothing to show for it.

Cleveland got 17 hits and blew a 4-0 eighth-inning lead against the two-time defending AL Central champions.

Juan Rincon worked a scoreless 11th for the win. Chad Durbin took the loss.

Athletics 5, Rangers 4

OAKLAND, Calif. Pinch-hitter Eric Byrnes hit a two-run double with two outs in the eighth and the Oakland Athletics rallied for a victory over the Texas Rangers in their season opener.

Byrnes, who began the season on the bench after a breakout 2003 season, connected against Ron Mahay and rookie Bobby Crosby scored the go-ahead run. Perhaps these A's have a flair for the dramatic even without departed 2002 AL MVP Miguel Tejada.

New Oakland closer Arthur Rhodes pitched the ninth for his first save, while Chad Bradford finished the eighth for the win.

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