- The Washington Times - Friday, April 10, 2009

DETROIT (AP) - Miguel Cabrera hit a grand slam and matched his career high with six RBIs, leading Armando Galarraga and the Detroit Tigers over the Texas Rangers 15-2 Friday in their home opener.

The Tigers gave 44,588 fans plenty of reasons to cheer after bolstering low expectations by losing three of their first four games in Toronto.

The Rangers, meanwhile, found out their fast start didn’t matter much at Comerica Park. Texas had started 3-0 for the first time since 1996 and led the majors in runs before the Tigers roughed Kris Benson (0-1) in his return to the majors.

Benson allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits in five innings, pitching in the big leagues for the first time since Sept. 27, 2006.

Galarraga (1-0) struck out a career-high eight against the team that traded him to Detroit in February 2008. He gave up a run and five hits in seven innings.

Cabrera, like a lot of Tigers, got off to a slow start last season as the team lost its first seven games.

This year, he’s picking up where he left off for Detroit.

The reigning AL home run champion hit his third homer in five games _ a liner over the left-center wall for a grand slam in the fourth _ and followed up with a two-run double off the right-center wall in the seventh.

Cabrera and Galarraga were just about the only sources of pride for the Tigers in 2008 when they began the season as a popular pick to win the World Series and finished as baseball’s bust of the year.

Galarraga opened last year at Triple-A Toledo and went on to lead AL rookies with 13 wins and 126 strikeouts while ranking third with a 3.73 ERA.

Gerald Laird started Detroit’s scoring barrage with an RBI single in the second and he hit a triple in the eighth _ he didn’t hit a three-bagger in 95 games for Texas last season.

Brandon Inge, who hit a homer in each of the first three games, was the only player in Detroit’s starting lineup who didn’t have an RBI against the Rangers.

Warner Madrigal replaced Benson in the sixth and things didn’t get much better for the Rangers.

Madrigal was pulled after giving up a two-out walk in the seventh with the bases loaded, giving Detroit a 9-1 lead. He was charged with four runs after walking three, hitting one and throwing a wild pitch.

Nelson Cruz hit a solo homer in the ninth off Tigers reliever Eddie Bonine.

Notes:@ Rangers C Jarrod Saltalamacchia was back in the lineup Friday, two days after leaving a game with ill effects of an ear infection. … Detroit closer Brandon Lyon, who blew a save in Toronto, was booed when he was introduced before the game. … Hall of Famers Ernie Harwell and Al Kaline and George Kell’s grandson raised a flag with Kell’s initials before the game to salute the Hall of Fame third baseman and longtime broadcaster, who died during the offseason. … Kid Rock sang “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” … Texas has lost seven straight in the Motor City, dating back to its last win on Sept. 11, 2007, and nine of 12 overall against the Tigers. … Detroit acquired Galarraga from the Rangers for Michael Hernandez, whom they released last year during spring training. Galarraga signed with Montreal as a non-drafted free agent in 1998 and later was in Washington’s organization before Texas added him as part of the Alfonso Soriano deal, entering the 2006 season. … Benson, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft by Pittsburgh, missed 2007 after having surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff.


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