ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.(AP)
struck out in each of his first three at-bats Sunday. Then, one swing changed everything.
Inge hit a grand slam in the ninth inning and the
picked apart Tampa Bay's bullpen in a 5-3 victory over the Rays that completed a three-game sweep.
''It's one of those days where I couldn't really figure out why I was missing,'' Inge said. ''I felt like I was taking good
swings all day. As long as you can remember that that very last at-bat is going to be one that can make a huge difference
in the game, put all of your previous at-bats aside because it's the last one that's very important.''
Detroit earned its sixth consecutive win and opened a seven-game lead over Minnesota in the AL Central.
After Rays starter
pitched seven sharp innings in his major league debut, Detroit overcame a 3-1 lead when Tampa Bay used five relievers in the
ninth. Inge capped the comeback, connecting with one out against
(0-3) for his fifth career slam.
''He did a great job,'' Springer said of Davis. ''It makes it worse to ruin his first start. It was bad in a couple different
ways. It wasn't that bad of a pitch. It was on the outside corner. I know he's a hook guy, but on paper he's supposed to hit
the ball to second. He got it.''
(12-6) allowed three runs and six hits in eight innings for Detroit.
pitched the ninth for his third save.
''He gave up that three-spot, but I thought he was tremendous,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Jackson. ''That's what
gave us a chance to win the ballgame.''
hit his career-high 28th homer for the Rays, who have lost eight of 11 and fell seven back of wild card-leading Boston. The
2008 AL Rookie of the Year joined teammate
in reaching 100 RBIs, marking the first time two Tampa Bay players have reached that total in the same year.
Davis allowed one run and three hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Taken in the third round of the 2004 draft, the native
of nearby Lake Wales, Fla., pitched a day before his 24th birthday.
''Everybody wants to win,'' said Davis, who watched the ninth in the clubhouse. ''I gave them a chance.''
Davis struck out his first four batters before
homered to put the Tigers ahead 1-0 in the second. The right-hander then closed out the second with two more strikeouts.
pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings, striking out
to start the ninth. Manager Joe Maddon then brought in
, who walked
Struggling closer J.P. Howell entered and walked pinch-hitter
, the only batter he faced. Springer took over and gave up a single to
before Inge's 27th homer of the season.
got the last two outs.
Maddon said the ninth-inning matchups were established before the inning.
''Obviously the two walks can't happen,'' he said. ''The walks really turned that game around.''
Tampa Bay's bullpen is 2-8 with eight blown saves in the last 28 games.
Longoria homered in the second and Tampa Bay added two more in the third.
's double-play grounder and
came home on Jackson's wild pitch.
NOTES: Jackson, traded from Tampa Bay to Detroit during the offseason, received his 2008 AL championship ring from the Rays
on Saturday. He went 14-11 last season. ... Davis' nine strikeouts set a team record for a rookie in his first game. ... Tigers
, who threw 35 pitches on Friday, rested for the second straight game. ... Leyland plans to talk with RHP
, whose spot in the rotation might be in jeopardy. ... A group of Detroit players enjoyed watching Leyland drive RHP
's remote-control, high-speed mini-car in the outfield before the game. ''We both flipped it,'' Leyland said.