Laird glad to get first hit out of the way
Tigers catcher snapped 0-for-17 start to season on Sunday
DETROIT -- Gerald Laird heard the roar of the crowd when his ground ball rolled just out of the reach of Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and into left field Sunday. He wasn't expecting quite that much of a reaction to the end of his hitless start, and he sensed the sarcasm, but he accepted it.
The reaction from his manager was a little bit bigger of a surprise.
"I told him I'm breaking out in poison ivy," manager Jim Leyland said. "I said, 'I'm getting poison ivy. You got a hit. I'm breaking out in a rash or something.'"
Laird got a laugh out of it. Still, he wasn't making a big deal out of his first hit.
"Eager to get it over with," said Laird, who was 0-for-17 at the time. "It's just good to put together a good at-bat and get going. I wasn't really pressing. Yeah, I was a little disappointed, but I didn't have an explosion where I threw my helmet or anything.
"It's just one of those things that happens. Like [hitting coach Lloyd McClendon] said, 'If it was during the middle of the season, you wouldn't even know.' It's just [that it's] out of the gate, so you kind of start thinking about it a little more than you probably would."
Leyland glad he stuck with Magglio
DETROIT -- How sudden was that comeback from the Tigers on Sunday? Manager Jim Leyland was close to making the kind of late-game changes a team makes to get star players rest when a game is out of reach.
"Had it stayed 7-1 longer, maybe another inning, Magglio would've been out of the game," Leyland said Monday morning.
If that's the case, then Ordonez might well have kept himself and the Tigers in the game when he singled in two runs in the bottom of the sixth, a half-inning after Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer had given the Indians that 7-1 lead.
Ordonez came up big in the ninth inning, when his single started the three-run rally that sent the Tigers to victory.
Inge shows off range with fine double play
DETROIT -- If there was any question left about Brandon Inge's range at third base after offseason knee surgery, his diving catch and double play Monday might've been a good answer. Inge stretched completely out in front of shortstop Ramon Santiago to catch Jose Guillen's soft line drive, then gathered himself to fire to first base and double up Rick Ankiel.
Inge said heading into the season that he felt surprisingly fine after hitting the ground for a stop late in Spring Training, which gave him a confidence boost.
Inge started one of three double plays the Tigers turned in the first three innings, none of them really traditional. Santiago turned a sharp grounder up the middle into a double play despite a hit-and-run call, dodging David DeJesus at second as he fired to first.
After Inge's acrobatics ended the top of the second inning, Santiago turned an unassisted double play in the third when he caught suburban Detroit native Chris Getz's line drive and tagged second to double up Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Tigers entered Monday's game tops in the American League and tied for the Major League lead with 10 double plays turned. The Braves and Astros also entered the week with 10. The Royals and Red Sox were tied for second in the AL with eight.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.