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Rodriguez drives in winning run as Tigers edge Red Sox

Jul 8, 2007 - 5:07 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Ivan Rodriguez drove in the game-winning run with a single in the bottom of the 13th inning as the Detroit Tigers posted a 3-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

In the 13th, Gary Sheffield was hit by the first pitch from Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon (0-2) and stole second. After Carlos Guillen struck out, Rodriguez hit the ball just out of reach of diving center fielder Coco Crisp, allowing Sheffield to score easily.

"Papelbon is tough," said Rodriguez, who was hitless in his four previous career at-bats against the righthander. "You try not to do too much. I just relaxed and threw my bat at the ball."

Reliever Jason Grilli (3-2) pitched a scoreless top of the 13th for the victory as the Tigers pushed their winning streak to four games.

The Red Sox got to Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman early as rookie Dustin Pedroia hit his first career triple in the first inning and came around to score on David Ortiz's 14th blast to right field.

"I saw my pitch once," Ortiz said. "And when you get it, you can't miss it."

However, Detroit got the runs back in the fifth against Boston starter Kason Gabbard, who walked All-Stars Guillen and Magglio Ordonez before Craig Monroe delivered a two-run double to left.

The two-base hit was a shot of confidence for Monroe, who was just 2-of-31 prior to the hit. The left fielder finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.

"It was a big win," Monroe said. "A very big win for the team going into the break."

Boston had a chance to take control in the eighth by putting runners on the corners, but Bonderman fanned J.D. Drew with a slider to tie his season high of nine strikeouts.

Bonderman lasted eight innings, giving up two runs and seven hits but failing to become the second Tiger to record a double-digit win total. Justin Verlander leads the club with 10 victories.

"(Bonderman) had a tremendous game," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "He threw one bad pitch. Otherwise, he was excellent."

Gabbard allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 frames with three strikeouts and two walks. It was the lefthander's second-longest outing, as he went seven in a 1-0 win against the Chicago White Sox on September 5, 2006.

"It's one of those losses," Gabbard said. "You know, just a battle of the bullpens. I felt a lot better than I did my last two starts with my fastball. That's the key, throwing my breaking balls off of my fastball."

Tigers All-Star second baseman Placido Polanco left in the eighth with a right rib strain and is listed as day-to-day.

"He's sore and won't play (Sunday)," Leyland said.