The idea had appealed to Detroit Manager Larry Parrish for a long time. Finally, he moved Deivi Cruz up to second in the Tigers' order and it paid off.
Cruz and Tony Clark each homered and had four RBI as the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals, 10-5, last night in Detroit.
"We had talked about this," Parrish said. "He's the type of guy we think can hit in the number two hole, except that Brad Ausmus has been going so good there."
But on this night, Ausmus -- who is hitting .309 since moving to the second spot in the order for his past 38 starts -- was going to sit while Bill Haselman got a start behind the plate.
That left the door open for Parrish to try Cruz in that slot, marking the first time in 372 career games that Cruz hit higher than seventh in the order.
"That was a big surprise, when I walked in and saw my name in the number two spot," said Cruz, who matched a career high with the four RBI. "I have been working hard to change my swing, and it might be paying off."
Clark's three-run homer keyed a four-run seventh and Cruz -- who laid down a nifty RBI bunt in the seventh -- had a two-run shot in a three-run eighth.
"In that position, you're looking for a guy who makes contact a lot, but a guy who's not afraid to take pitches," Parrish said. "Deivi can really handle the bat pretty well."
YANKEES 4, DEVIL RAYS 3: Derek Jeter hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the seventh, and host New York beat Tampa Bay for its 15th time in 16 games against the Devil Rays.
"He strikes out three times and then hits a home run. That doesn't happen too often," Yankees Manager Joe Torre said of Jeter.
Orlando Hernandez (11-6) allowed two runs and five hits in eight innings, struck out seven and walked one. He is 4-0 against Tampa Bay with a 1.24 ERA.
Mariano Rivera allowed an RBI double to John Flaherty in the ninth, then finished for his 25th save in 29 chances, retiring Terrell Lowery on a game-ending liner to center with a runner on second.
Bobby Witt (5-6) gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"He made me look terrible the first three times up," Jeter said.
WHITE SOX 6, TWINS 3: Paul Konerko went 4 for 5 with a three-run homer in the 10th to lift visiting Chicago. Hector Carrasco (0-2), who had pitched just 10 1/3 innings this season after returning from a circulatory disorder in his throwing arm last month, pitched two scoreless innings before faltering in the 10th.
BLUE JAYS 4, INDIANS 3: Carlos Delgado hit a go-ahead home run off Mike Jackson in the top of the ninth and visiting Toronto survived a bases-loaded scare in the bottom of the ninth.
The slumping Indians wasted a strong pitching performance from Dave Burba, then missed an opportunity to at least tie it when Manny Ramirez grounded into a game-ending double play against Billy Koch with the bases loaded.
RANGERS 9, ANGELS 5: Ivan Rodriguez had three hits and Todd Zeile hit a two-run double in a six-run second inning as host Texas won its fourth straight. The last-place Angels lost their sixth in a row, matching their longest losing streak of the year, and dropped 11 1/2 games behind division-leading Texas.
ATHLETICS 13, MARINERS 3: In Seattle, Eric Chavez hit a grand slam and John Jaha and Ramon Hernandez also homered. Gil Heredia (7-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in eight innings for Oakland, which is 6-1 since the all-star break and has won 13 of its last 18.