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Tigers Sting Devil Rays


Bobby Witt gutted his way through a complete game yet didn't have much to show for it.

Witt ended up on the short end of a pitchers' duel as Dave Mlicki and two relievers combined on a six-hitter and the Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-1.

Dean Palmer hit a home run and an RBI double for Detroit, which won for just the fifth time in 20 games. The Tigers also snapped a three-game losing streak and Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak.

Witt (7-9) hasn't had much luck against Detroit during his career. He's 7-15, including 3-8 at Tiger Stadium, where he's lost six straight decisions since Aug. 20, 1993.

This time he allowed three runs on eight hits in his third complete game of the season.

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Game Summary

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  • "Bobby pitched well tonight," Devil Rays manager Larry Rothschild said. "He had some stiffness throughout the game but he battled through it. It was just a well-pitched game on both sides."

    Witt said the stiffness occurred as he was warming up, "but sometimes you concentrate a little more when that happens."

    His only regret was Palmer's 29th homer in the eighth, which gave the Tigers a two-run lead.

    "I tried to throw a slider down and away and he just went down and got it," Witt said.

    Palmer went deep after making an outstanding play at third to throw out Dave Martinez on a bunt down the line in the top of the eighth.

    "I was pretty fired up about that play," Palmer said. "I think it can get you going offensively, too, when you make a good play like that."

    Palmer leads the Tigers with 77 RBIs.

    "As a team, e're really not producing runs, enough runs to win day in and day out," Palmer said. "I try to put it upon myself to pick up some of the slack when things aren't going good. Sometimes I'm able to do it; other times I'm not. We're still waiting on the time when we do it all as a team."

    Mlicki (8-10) won his third straight start, going seven innings and allowing a run on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks. He has won four of his last five decisions for the only victories from a Tigers starter since Brian Moehler beat Boston on July 23.

    "I think we're seeing a guy that's getting a chance for a long period of time to keep going out there," Tigers manager Larry Parrish said. "It looks like he's gained confidence from that. He's pitching with more confidence now than he was earlier."

    Mlicki didn't allow a runner past first after the Devil Rays scored their lone run in the second.

    "Now I'm starting to think about things I need to accomplish right here in the present time instead of worrying about what's going to happen two or three batters ahead," Mlicki said. "I'm concentrating on what I need to do for the inning and worrying about one guy at a time. That's kind of helped me out a bit."

    Doug Brocail and Todd Jones each worked an inning, with Jones completing the six-hitter for his 19th save in 22 chances.

    Brad Ausmus and Palmer hit consecutive doubles to put the Tigers ahead in the first, but Tampa Bay tied it in the second when John Flaherty hit a leadoff double and scored on Bobby Smith's two-out single.

    Detroit went up 2-1 in the bottom half when Karim Garcia singled with two outs and scored on on Gabe Kapler's double.

    Notes

  • Palmer needs one more hit for 1,000 in his career.
  • Fred McGriff is three home runs shy of joining Devil Rays teammate Jose Canseco as the only players to have 30-homer seasons with four different teams.
  • The Devil Rays turned three more double plays after making five Monday, raising their major league-leading total to 149.
  • Tigers relievers have allowed eight runs in their last 42 innings, a 1.80 ERA.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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