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 Veteran bats wake up in Tigers' win

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PostSubject: Veteran bats wake up in Tigers' win   Mon May 25, 2009 11:22 pm

Veteran bats wake up in Tigers' win
Cabrera, Granderson among slumping vets with big days

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

05/25/09 7:57 PM ET

KANSAS CITY -- Tigers manager Jim Leyland got his message across Monday: For all the praise heaped upon young hitters like Clete Thomas, Jeff Larish and Josh Anderson, the eventual rise or fall of this team offensively would come from the mainstays. Detroit's veteran hitters have to hit.

"It's our veteran guys that need to start picking it up," Leyland said before Monday's series opener in Kansas City. "What happens is that normally young guys, they give you an instant spark that lasts for a while, but it won't last forever. We're going to depend on [Magglio] Ordonez, [Placido] Polanco -- [Carlos] Guillen when he gets back and Marcus [Thames] when he gets back -- and [Curtis] Granderson. Those are the guys that have to pick it up. And they've got track records that indicate that they will."

The Tigers spent most of the afternoon hitting in a 13-1 drubbing of the Royals. It doesn't mean that the Tigers are necessarily out of the funk that arguably cost them two of three games against the Rockies over the weekend, and it doesn't mean they'll put so much as a nudge in Zack Greinke's .203 batting average allowed come Tuesday night, but they showed they're capable of taking advantage of a pitcher if he isn't on his game.

Considering Gil Meche's 8-4 career record and 3.71 ERA against the Tigers, Monday was a good day to catch him. Meche hadn't lost to the Tigers since April 7, 2007, a 3-0 stretch covering six starts, but he proved beatable this time around.

"Meche is very good," Leyland said. "And when you get to face real good ones like Meche, you hope you face him on a rare off night. We caught Gil today when his stuff looked good but his command wasn't very good, and we caught a break."

Tigers young and old hit Meche, who gave up more baserunners (nine) than he recorded outs (seven), but the performances of the slumping Tigers hitters stood out.Granderson, whose 0-for-13 slump lowered his average on the year to .240, ended his skid with a second-inning single, then added two more hits off Kansas City's bullpen. Thomas, whose first-inning groundout extended his slump to 0-for-13, had a pair of singles, including a two-run grounder through the right side in the fifth inning. Miguel Cabrera, 2-for-11 against the Rockies over the weekend, posted his first four-hit game of the season with a pair of singles and a pair of doubles.

"I thought we had a great approach at the plate today," Leyland said. "We were very patient with Meche. Obviously he wasn't in sync."

Detroit's 13 runs scored matched its total from its four previous games combined. Nine of the runs scored on singles or outs. The lone home run of the bunch came from Gerald Laird, whose two-run shot off Ron Mahay in the seventh stretched Detroit's lead to 9-0. Laird's batting 11-for-27 (.407) over his last eight games since breaking out of his 0-for-26 funk.

"I'm seeing the ball a lot better," Laird said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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