Tigers 8, Twins 1
For his teammates and manager, there has been no understating his importantce in Detroit's lineup the past two weeks. Young is fitting right in with his new club as the Tigers' No. 3 hitter.
Young had three RBI singles in his return to Target Field and Victor Martinez knocked in four runs to lead Detroit to an 8-1 win over Minnesota on Friday night.
''We're fortunate because he fit right in with our guys,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ''I think he likes it pretty well here, as well. He's a good guy. He's a good player and he's really, kind of, what the doctor ordered for us in that three hole at this time.''
Miguel Cabrera had three hits in his first game after being reinstated from the paternity list in support of Rick Porcello, who pitched 6 1-3 innings. Detroit (72-59) remained 6 1/2 games ahead of second place Cleveland (64-64) in the AL Central.
Porcello (12-8) snapped a string of back-to-back losses, giving up just the one run on seven hits, while walking three and striking out four.
Scott Diamond (0-2) allowed five runs on 11 hits in his second major league start for the Twins, who lost their sixth straight game - all at home.
''I've never been part of anything like this,'' Minnesota's Justin Morneau said. ''Definitely not going to get used to it, don't want to get used to it, don't want to go through it. We need to find a way to get out of it and not just start looking toward next year. We got a month left in the season.''
Two teams that typically battle for the AL Central crown have been on different paths the past month.
Minnesota found itself in the unusual position of seller this month after a 5-18 August pushed the Twins from seven games back of Detroit to 16 heading into this series. Young was sent to Detroit in a package which included reliever Lester Oliveros and Class-A pitcher Cole Nelson.
The Twins then traded slugger Jim Thome, who recently hit his 600th career homer, to the Indians on Thursday. Minnesota was also without Joe Mauer, who is nursing a neck injury, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who is still bothered by back spasms.
Without them, Minnesota had trouble putting anything together against the previously struggling Porcello.
With the bases loaded and no outs, the Twins' Matt Tolbert bounced back to the pitcher for a 1-2-3 double play. Drew Butera then poked an RBI single into right for the first run of the game, but the rally ended when Ben Revere hit a bouncer to shortstop and was called out on the throw, although replays showed he was safe.
The missed call just adds to the offensive woes for Minnesota, which has scored one run or less in each of the past six games.
''Sure that was a tough call, but when you step back, we had the bases loaded,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''You have to take advantage when you load the bases up. You have to come up with some big hits and we're not doing it.''
Meanwhile, the Tigers are taking control of the Central.
Detroit's lead had slipped to 1 1/2 games on Aug. 18. Since then, the Tigers have won seven of their past eight to open the lead to 6 1/2 games over the Indians.
Porcello hadn't been a part of the recent success, though. The right-hander had allowed 17 runs in his last 13 1-3 innings, losing his last two decisions.
Young had RBI singles in the third and seventh innings on infield hits. He added his final blow with a liner to center in the eighth.
''He's been great,'' Martinez said. ''It's no secret around the league. He showed what he is capable to do when he's healthy. Hitting in the three spot has been good.''
NOTES: Nishioka was a late scratch from the lineup after Gardenhire witnessed him having trouble throwing during pregame warmups. Nishioka has missed the past five games and could miss a couple more, according to Gardenhire. ... Mauer was feeling better after missing the past two games with neck soreness, and was available off the bench if needed. ... A day after trading Thome to Cleveland, the Twins stuck with their planned giveaway and passed out 10,000 Thome mini wind-up walkers. ... Detroit has won 14 of the past 17 games between the two teams. ... Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (19-5) takes the mound for Saturday's afternoon game having won five straight starts. Verlander is 9-7 all-time against the Twins with a 3.41 ERA, but is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA in two starts this season. Manager Jim Leyland said Verlander would get an extra day of rest between tomorrow's start and his next start on Sept. 2. ... Right-hander Carl Pavano (6-10) makes his 27th start of the year for the Twins. He is 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA against Detroit this season. He's lost his last four decisions, but does have a 3.20 ERA in four August starts, going 0-2 in that time.