Ryan Raburn grand slam lifts Tigers to series victory over White Sox

Ryan Raburn hopefully waved goodbye to an early season slump with a grand slam to give Detroit a 6-3 lead.


Final - 6.5.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R
Detroit Tigers 0 0 0 6 0 1 0 0 0 7
Chicago White Sox 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3

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BOX

KEY STAT

4 strikeouts in 2 scoreless innings: Al Alburquerque bridged the sixth and seventh innings well yet again to get to the back end of the Tigers' bullpen. He now has 35 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings.

KEY PLAY

Jake Peavy pitched around Alex Avila in the fourth inning, loading the bases to get to a struggling Ryan Raburn. Raburn promptly deposited the baseball into the left field bullpen for a grand slam and 6-2 lead.

KEY THOUGHTS

Savor this one. Jake Peavy had a perfect game through three innings but the Tigers knocked him out of the game with a six-run fourth. (Peavy had a groin injury, the White Sox report.) Detroit took 2 of 3 games from the White Sox, in Chicago even. They've now won 13 out of 19 games against the division. Against teams we thought would be their chief competition for the Central pennant, Detroit is 10-1. Obviously they'll still have to take care of business against the Royals and -- more importantly at this point -- Indians. But winning in division is key to winning it, so great start there.

We have to talk about Ryan Raburn. His slow start has made carrying him in the lineup all but impossible. Will a grand slam be enough to get him rolling? Too early to say. But it sure came at a good time to help the team today.

Don Kelly: It's fine with me if he continues playing third, but please stop hitting him second! Kelly made a pair of diving stops at the hot corner today. He converted one into an out, and had a close play at first called "safe" on his second stab. At this point, I'd rather see Kelly playing there than Brandon Inge, to be honest. But batting him second? Has Jim Leyland just given up on the second spot in the order? No one has found any success there all season. As I wrote yesterday, he has his regulars in their regular positions but he seems happy to accept a black hole at No. 2.

What I expect -- hope? -- we'll see when Magglio Ordonez returns to the lineup is more of an outfielder hitting second. Not that Detroit's outfielders are slugging or hitting incredibly consistent either. But Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch, whichever, is fine with me if Leyland isn't going to move someone better up.

By the way, Miguel Cabrera hit home run No. 13. I read that many fans were naming him as a disappointment on some Detroit-area sports radio call-in show. I have no faith in sports radio callers having a clue what they're talking about, but that is absolutely beyond ridiculous. I guess a 1.023 OPS -- third highest in baseball -- is not good enough for some people. Speaking of idiotic sports radio callers, here's tomorrow's leading topic today:

Jose Valverde. I know some people are going to be yelling, "IT'S NOT A SAVE SITUATION! DON'T USE YOUR CLOSER!" But in this case, I'm fine with Leyland's decision. When you're playing on the road against a team that has given you problems in the past, take the win at hand. Major league wins are really much harder to come by than fans seem to think. There's no guarantee Detroit will have a save situation Monday. There's no guarantee they'll have one at all in Texas. That is a pretty good ballclub. (The Tigers are too obviously.) Cement the win in front of you before you worry about what could be down the line. Especially when you've got Closer-In-Waiting  Joaquin Benoit, who has not given up a run in eight appearances after his early-May mishaps.

In other news:

David Purcey's wife had their twins, Jim Leyland reports. "One of each."

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