Tigers 4, Twins 2

The Detroit Tigers have been streaky this season.

Good and bad.

Brennan Boesch believes they’re about to get on a roll.

Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the third and Rick
Porcello pitched into the seventh inning, lifting Detroit to a 4-2
win over the Minnesota Twins.

The Tigers swept the three-game series and has won four straight
in an up-and-down season.

”I think it will be mostly feast the rest of the year,” Boesch
said. ”We got a good team and we’re confident.”

The two-time defending AL Central champion Twins, who have won
six division titles since 2002, are used to having a good team.

Not this year.

Minnesota has lost 10 of 12, falling to 17-37 for the worst
record in baseball.

On a day the Twins made a good-news announcement – Joe Mauer is
scheduled to catch three innings Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla. – the
banged-up team had another setback. Jim Thome left in the sixth
inning after straining his left quadriceps.

Minnesota outfielder Jason Kubel missed his second straight game
with a sprained left foot and he or Thome will be the latest to
join the long list of players on the disabled list.

”We’ll have to make a decision between Kubel and Thome,”
manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”We can’t play two down, and we can’t
just go day-to-day with everyone.”

Drew Butera hit a two-run homer in the seventh to pull Minnesota
within two, but the Twins failed to take advantage of loading the
bases later in the inning.

Porcello (5-3) gave up two runs and six hits over 6 2-3 innings.
Al Alburquerque struck out Trevor Plouffe with the bases loaded in
the seventh, Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect eighth and Jose
Valverde closed the game to earn his 14th save in as many
chances.

Valverde started off by walking pinch-hitter Matt Tolbert on
five pitches, bringing the top of the order up. He got Denard Span
to ground out, struck out Alexi Casilla on a fouled bunt attempt,
intentionally walked Justin Morneau and got Michael Cuddyer out on
a chopper to third baseman Brandon Inge.

”I didn’t want Morneau to hit a two-run homer to tie it up,”
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. ”I was going for the win.”

The Tigers have earned a lot of those lately against
Minnesota.

Detroit has won nine straight against the Twins dating to late
last season, its longest win streak against them since winning nine
consecutive games during the 1949 and 1950 seasons, when they were
the Washington Senators.

”It’s always nice to beat the Twins,” said Tigers catcher Alex
Avila, who had a two-out single in the second.

Minnesota’s Scott Baker (2-4) allowed four runs on seven hits
over six innings.

”It was one bad inning again,” Gardenhire said. ”Bake walked
two guys, and then he missed a slider and decided to try to sneak a
fastball by (Cabrera) and that didn’t work.”

Cabrera lined his 11th homer over the left-field wall the next
inning, after Ramon Santiago and Boesch had walked, putting the
Tigers ahead by four runs.

Porcello gave up one hit in the third, fourth – when Boesch made
an inning-ending diving catch with two on – and sixth before the
Twins chased him the next inning. Delmon Young hit a leadoff single
in the seventh and scored on Butera’s first homer this season.
Porcello’s night ended after diving for and missing a popped-up
bunt with two outs.

Daniel Schlereth entered the game and exited after his only
pitch hit Morneau. After Alburquerque walked the first batter he
faced, the hard-throwing righty struck out Plouffe, who was
pinch-hitting for Thome, to preserve the two-run lead.

”Alburquerque came back with a big strikeout,” Leyland
said.

NOTES: Tigers OF Magglio Ordonez is scheduled to join Triple-A
Toledo for an open-ended rehab assignment Friday. Ordonez has been
on the DL since May 11 because of weakness in his surgically
repaired right ankle. ”I don’t know when to expect him back,”
Leyland said. … Mauer, the 2009 AL MVP and three-time batting
champion, has been out since April 14 with leg weakness and an
injured right shoulder. … Inge had his 10-year anniversary in the
majors Wednesday and now has no-trade rights because he has spent
at least five straight years with the same team. Inge was humbled
by a pregame gift of Dom Perignon champagne and a note from
Gardenhire. … Twins SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka is expected to play
seven innings at an extended spring training game on Thursday with
Mauer in Fort Myers. … Tigers LHP Phil Coke, on the DL with a
bruised right foot, is scheduled to start Wednesday in Texas.