One year after being the butt of jokes for their futility, it's tough to make fun of the Detroit Tigers.
The Tigers surpassed their 2003 win total with 21/2 months left in the season by beating the New York Yankees, 4-2, yesterday at home behind Nate Robertson's pitching and Carlos Pena's hitting.
Detroit (44-47) set an AL record for losses last year by going 43-119, a loss shy of baseball's post-1900 record.
"It's fun when you can crush somebody and land your punches, to use a boxing analogy," said Pena, who was 3 for 3 and hit a solo home run.
The Tigers easily set a record for fewest games needed to surpass their wins total from the previous year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous mark of 106 was set by the 1962 Philadelphia Phillies (48-58 after going 47-107) and the 1989 Baltimore Orioles (55-51 following a 54-107 season).
* MARINERS 7, INDIANS 5: Bucky Jacobsen, a 28-year old rookie, has wasted no time in making his presence felt after toiling in the minors for eight years.
Jacobsen homered for the second straight game, and defensive replacement Randy Winn had a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning for host Seattle.
Jacobsen, who is 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, is 5 for 8 with two homers and five RBI thus far in his big-league career.
"We definitely didn't have a figure like him," Mariners Manager Bob Melvin said of the rookie. "He's like 'Casey at Bat.' "
* RED SOX 6, ANGELS 2: Curt Schilling won his fourth straight decision, and David Ortiz homered and drove in four runs for visiting Boston.
Schilling retired 17 of his last 19 batters. He was pitching on nine days' rest after sitting out the All-Star Game because of a sore right ankle, and he improved to 9-1 with a 2.04 ERA this year when pitching with more than four days off.
Schilling and Pedro Martinez have combined to go 14-1 since May 19, and Boston is 27-11 when Schilling or Martinez starts. The rest of the time, the Red Sox are 23-29.
"That's not pressure, that's expectation," Schilling said.
* ATHLETICS 5, WHITE SOX 3: Mark Mulder pitched three-hit ball into the ninth to become baseball's first 13-game winner, and Bobby Crosby hit a two-run homer for host Oakland.
Mulder won his 11th straight decision, outpitching Esteban Loaiza in a matchup of all-stars. Mulder improved to 7-0 in 10 starts at home and is 6-0 in day games.
* ROYALS 4, TWINS 3: Dee Brown singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning for Kansas City.
* RANGERS 7, BLUE JAYS 5: Mark Teixeira's grand slam keyed a six-run eighth inning, and host Texas handed Toronto its sixth straight loss.