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Rookie powers Tigers past Braves
Atlanta Braves left fielder Eric Hinske is tagged out by Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird as he tries to score from third on a Troy Glaus grounder in the fifth inning Sunday in Atlanta. - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Brennan Boesch shook his head and raised his hand, waving off a reporter’s attempt to recite the rookie outfielder’s impressive statistics.

“I don’t even want to know,” Boesch said.

Based on the early All-Star voting, others also are oblivious to Boesch’s numbers, which he boosted Sunday by hitting a homer and driving in three runs as the Detroit Tigers beat the Atlanta Braves 10-4.

Boesch hit an RBI single during a five-run fourth inning that finished Tommy Hanson (7-5). Boesch added a two-run homer, his 12th of the season and eighth in June, the next inning.

With his big day, Boesch is hitting .338 with 12 homers and 43 RBIs and yet he doesn’t rank among the top 15 outfielders in the AL All-Star voting.

Braves rookie Jason Heyward is hitting .251 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs and is second in the NL voting.

“He came into the year with a tremendous amount of attention,” said Boesch of Heyward, who has a sore left thumb and didn’t play Sunday.

“As far as my voting, I’m just in Detroit doing my thing. I don’t think I’ll have that kind of attention. That’s OK. As far as I know, I’ll be hanging out in Michigan for the three-day break.”

Detroit manager Jim Leyland said the voting doesn’t necessarily reflect a player’s value.

“The whole All-Star thing is misleading,” Leyland said. “You need to be careful about that. It’s about popularity. It makes no sense to comment on it.”

Rookie Austin Jackson had three of Detroit’s 17 hits, including a two-run single in the big fourth.

“We swung the bat really good today,” said Leyland, who was ejected in the fourth inning. “We got back in sync.”

Justin Verlander (9-5) gave up six hits and four runs in seven innings as the Tigers avoided being swept.

“It definitely wasn’t easy,” Verlander said. “It has been a long time since I’d had to deal with that kind of heat.”

The temperature was 91 degrees for the first pitch.

Hanson lasted only 3 2-3 innings for his second straight start. He gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks.

“He left his breaking ball up,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “He had a great breaking ball at times, and a bad one at times. His mechanics are exactly what they’ve always been. Nothing new there.

“But Tommy can pitch a lot better than he did, that’s for sure.”

Hanson’s ERA has climbed from 3.38 to 4.50 by allowing a combined 14 earned runs in his last two starts.

“It’s pretty frustrating, to be honest with you,” said Hanson, who has been working on his slider. “It’s definitely not fun. It’s not a good feeling. I know I can go out there and pitch.”

Leyland was ejected in the fourth for arguing a close call at first base.

A day after umpire Gary Cederstrom acknowledged he mistakenly called strike three to end the Braves’ 4-3 win over the Tigers on Saturday night, Leyland took exception with a call by Fieldin Culbreth.

Verlander was called out on a double-play grounder to shortstop Yunel Escobar with the bases loaded. Escobar threw to catcher Brian McCann to force out Carlos Guillen. McCann’s throw to first arrived about the same time as Verlander.

As the crew chief, Cederstrom, stepped in between Leyland and Culbreth before walking with Leyland back to the dugout.
Detroit led 1-0 before Hanson recorded an out. Jackson led off with a single, moved to second on Hanson’s errant pickoff attempt, and scored on a single by Ramon Santiago.

The Tigers stretched the lead with five runs on five hits in the fourth. Don Kelly and Gerald Laird, who had three hits, hit run-scoring singles before Jackson’s two-run single.

Boesch hit his fifth-inning homer off Cristhian Martinez. Miguel Cabrera drove in a run with a single off Martinez in the sixth.
Troy Glaus drove in Atlanta’s first run with a fourth-inning double. Eric Hinske and McCann had back-to-back hits to drive in runs in the fifth.

NOTES: The Braves are expecting at least 40,000 fans when Washington rookie Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to face Tim Hudson on tonight. Tickets are available. ... Johnny Damon had two stolen bases for the first time this season. It was his 38th career game with two or more steals. ... Heyward plans to have his sore left thumb examined by team physician Dr. Gary Lourie on Monday. ... Martin Prado had two hits, leaving his NL-leading batting average at .334. It was his NL-best 36th multi-hit game.

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