Twins beat struggling Tigers 4-3
So far, the 2012 Detroit Tigers look nothing like the juggernaut
the Motor City was hoping for.
”The only thing that has been consistent for this team is the
inconsistency, and that’s mind boggling to me,” manager Jim
Leyland said. ”We just aren’t putting together the combinations
that we need to win.”
Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer in his second game back from
a wrist injury, and the Minnesota Twins held on for a 4-3 victory
over the Tigers on Thursday. Detroit fell two games under .500 and
now trails first-place Cleveland by four in the AL Central. Detroit
won the division by 15 last season.
P.J. Walters (1-1) allowed four hits – including three solo
homers – in 6 1-3 innings for the Twins, who swept the two-game
series at Comerica Park. Minnesota (12-26) has won two in a row for
only the second time this season.
”We had some good things happen – a good couple of wins here,”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”This is a great team. This is
the team everybody’s picked to win this division, and you come in
here and you win a couple of ballgames against them, and you go toe
to toe with them. It’s a good feeling. It’s something we can kind
of build off of.”
Morneau’s homer off Doug Fister (0-2) opened the scoring in the
third, and Trevor Plouffe followed with a long ball. Minnesota led
4-0 before the Tigers came back with homers by Brennan Boesch, Andy
Dirks and Prince Fielder.
Three relievers finished for the Twins, with Matt Capps pitching
a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
Francisco Liriano came on with two on and one out in the seventh
and got pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago to hit into a double play. Glen
Perkins walked the first two Detroit hitters in the eighth on nine
pitches, but he struck out Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young hit
into a double play to end that inning.
Detroit, which signed Fielder in the offseason after reaching
the AL championship series a year ago, is 9-17 since a 9-3
”We made some mistakes today, and when you aren’t playing well,
those will come back to bite you,” Leyland said. ”When you are
playing well, you overcome things like that and you win the
The Tigers were hoping for a strong start from Fister after
allowing 19 runs in their previous two games against the Twins and
Chicago White Sox, but the Detroit right-hander was in trouble from
Minnesota left the bases loaded in the first, and Fister got out
of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the second after he stepped
toward third and threw back to first to catch Jamey Carroll off
base for the second out of the inning.
With two outs in the third, Morneau and Plouffe hit back-to-back
homers. It was Morneau’s fifth of the year and first since coming
off the disabled list. He returned to the lineup Wednesday night
after being on the DL since May 1 with a sore left wrist.
Fister, who missed most of April with a left side strain, hadn’t
allowed a run at Comerica since Aug. 30.
”It was about executing pitches,” Fister said. ”I couldn’t
keep the ball down. It’s a constant battle, and today I didn’t
Minnesota added a crucial run in the fifth after Fielder failed
to catch Fister’s throw to first on Josh Willingham’s tapper.
Willingham went all the way to third on the error, which was
charged to Fielder, and Morneau drove him home with a
Boesch’s homer in the bottom of the inning was Detroit’s first
hit off Walters. Dirks and Fielder added solo shots of their own in
Fister allowed four runs – three earned – and nine hits in six
innings. He struck out five and walked two.
NOTES: Boesch extended his hitting streak to 10 games. …
Detroit OF Austin Jackson was out of the lineup with an abdominal
strain. … Detroit RHP Luis Marte (left hamstring strain) has been
assigned to Class A Lakeland as part of an injury rehabilitation
assignment. … Detroit sends Justin Verlander (4-1) to the mound
Friday to start a three-game series against Pittsburgh. Charlie
Morton (2-3) starts for the Pirates. … The Twins are at
Milwaukee. Scott Diamond (2-0) will start for Minnesota on Friday
against Marco Estrada (0-2).