Monroe powers Tigers to another fast start with his second first-inning home run of series

Monday, October 23, 2006

DETROIT -- Craig Monroe looked down, flipped his bat and got ready for another trot around the bases.

He's getting this routine down pat.

Monroe hit his fifth home run of this postseason, connecting for the second straight day against the St. Louis Cardinals and helping the Detroit Tigers win 3-1 to even the World Series at one game each.

"Not being in this situation before, I'm shocked sometimes at myself," he said. "I'm relaxed and having fun. That's the big thing. I'm not getting caught up in all the things that are going on around me."

Monroe matched the franchise record for career homers in the postseason set by Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland often has said that Monroe finally believed he was good this season after merely thinking he was good in the past.

Monroe hit two homers in the division series against the New York Yankees, tying a team record for home runs in a postseason series. He had another home run in the AL championship series against Oakland, and equaled his own mark with another two-homer series against St. Louis.

While the Tigers had trouble with Anthony Reyes in Game 1, Jeff Weaver was just another pitcher for Monroe to hit a homer off during the postseason.

Monroe's solo shot in the first inning sailed 421 feet into the left-field seats, a no-doubt shot that allowed Monroe to react as few can at spacious Comerica Park.

The free-swinging slugger also became the first player to hit homers in his first two World Series games since Barry Bonds did it for San Francisco in 2002 against Anaheim.

-- The Associated Press

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