Benson roughed up in Rangers debut
Veteran righty allows seven earned runs in five innings
DETROIT -- Kris Benson's two-year absence from the Major Leagues came to an end on Friday, and so did the Rangers' three-game winning streak.A case could be made that Benson deserved better than this, but the reality is that both he and the Rangers certainly did little to disrupt the gala festivities of the Tigers' home opener at Comerica Park. Instead, Benson gave up eight runs (seven earned) in five innings and the Tigers went on to a 15-2 victory over the Rangers. Miguel Cabrera, who had six RBIs on the afternoon, broke the game open with a fourth-inning grand slam that pretty much settled the issue in front of 44,588 fans. "It's their day, but we could have ruined it," outfielder Marlon Byrd said. "Oh well, nobody goes 162-0. We'll just have to settle for 161-1." The Rangers, after knocking out 18 extra-base hits in a three-game series against the Indians, were held to just one run on five singles in seven innings against Tigers starter Armando Galarraga. The Rangers' only extra-base hit came on Nelson's Cruz ninth-inning home run. Galarraga, who appeared in three games for the Rangers at the end of 2007 before being traded to the Tigers, struck out a career-high eight hitters. The Tigers have won nine of their last 12 games against the Rangers, including six straight at Comerica Park. "They had a good day," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said. "They swung it well. They were aggressive. You could tell it was their home opener. Everything went their way. You chalk it up to that and come out tomorrow." Benson, making his first Major League start since Sept. 27, 2006, allowed 10 hits and walked two. The first seven hits were all singles, and the eighth was a wind-blown double by Curtis Granderson that fell just beyond Cruz's reach on the right-center warning track. But three batters later, Cabrera blasted the grand slam that broke the game wide open. "That pitch was right down the middle," Benson said. "There wasn't much he couldn't do with that pitch. Overall, obviously it wasn't too good. There were some base hits off some good pitches and balls that were hit when I definitely didn't make a good pitch." Rangers pitchers allowed 24 baserunners in eight innings on 14 hits, eight walks and two hit batters. "Ouch," manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't stop them offensively. Benson threw the ball over the plate and they hit it. That's what they do. He put the ball in the zone and they put it in play. They did everything right. We just got beat." Benson did have a few tough breaks early in the game, particularly with one out in the second inning. He got designated hitter Jeff Larish to hit a dribbler just to the first-base side between home plate and the mound. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia called off Benson but had to hurry his throw and bounced it past first baseman Chris Davis. Larish went to second and scored on a broken-bat bloop single by Gerald Laird to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Benson's fortunes didn't get much better in the third. Placido Polanco reached on a grounder that hit the third-base bag and Magglio Ordonez ripped a ground ball past Young for a single. Cabrera's single to right loaded the bases, and Carlos Guillen brought home the Tigers' second run with a sacrifice fly. "You know it's going to be a rough day when Polanco hits a chopper down the line and it hits the base like that," Washington said. The Tigers got another rally going in the fourth, when Brandon Inge dropped a flare into center and went to third on Adam Everett's well-placed hit-and-run grounder that slithered through the right side. Granderson followed with a high fly ball to right. Cruz started in, lost track of the ball and then had to go scrambling back to the warning track. But the ball was just out of his reach and fell for a double. "I don't know if the wind aided it or not, but we didn't get to it," Washington said. Benson then hit Polanco to load the bases and struck out Ordonez with a slider, his best pitch of the afternoon. But then he threw his worst pitch and Cabrera hit it over the wall in deep left-center for the second grand slam of his career. "A sinker that didn't sink," Saltalamacchia said. "When we needed outs, he was getting them, but he made the one bad pitch." Benson at least threw the ball over the plate, for the most part, while he was on the mound. After he departed, Rangers relievers Warner Madrigal and Josh Rupe combined to walk six and hit one over the final four innings, allowing the Tigers to pile on seven more runs. For the Rangers, it was their third 13-run loss to the Tigers since the start of the 2008 season. The fell to Detroit, 19-6, on April 23, 2008, and 17-4 on Sept. 17, 2008.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.