Twins bullpen shines in 4-3 win as Tigers ‘pen crumbles

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI
AP Baseball Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) —
Sluggish throughout a homestand opener against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday

night, the Minnesota Twins never needed their bullpen more.

Matt Guerrier, Randy Flores, Jesse Crain and Matt Capps

came through in a huge way for the Twins, showing perhaps the biggest reason

they hold such a big lead over the Tigers with one month to play.

Delmon Young had two hits, including the go-ahead single

in the seventh against Detroit’s bumbling bullpen, to lift the Twins to a 4-3

victory over the Tigers.

Guerrier (3-7), Flores, Crain and Capps combined to allow

one hit over 2 1-3 innings as the Twins scratched their way back from a 3-0

deficit.

“We all try to build off each other,” Crain said.

“Everyone out there, we’ve all been in hold situations, save situations. So we

feel anytime we go out there we treat it the same way, as if it’s the ninth

inning.”

Young’s big hit came after Tigers reliever Phil Coke (7-4)

hit two batters to load the bases and Ryan Perry walked in the tying run.

Danny Valencia had three hits and an RBI and Brian

Duensing gave up three unearned runs on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings for the

Twins, who stayed four games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL

Central.

The Twins committed two errors that led to all three

Tigers runs, had a runner thrown out at home by 30 feet to end a rally and had

injuries to Jason Kubel, Brian Fuentes and possibly Orlando Hudson.

“Ugly game,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Kubel was hit on the left hand by Coke in the seventh. He

was taken for X-rays, which showed no break. Fuentes’s back locked up on him

while warming in the bullpen and both players could miss a few days. Hudson has

been battling an injured foot and Gardenhire said he would be re-evaluated on

Wednesday.

The Twins said they planned to recall infielder Trevor

Plouffe and catcher Jose Morales on Wednesday for reinforcements.

Jhonny Peralta had three hits and an RBI for the Tigers,

but struck out with the tying run at third base to end the game. Armando

Galarraga gave up two runs on eight hits in six innings and left with a 3-2 lead

before the Tigers bullpen faltered.

“Two walks, two hit batsmen in a one-run game against a

good team, or any team, that just can’t happen,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland

said.

The lefty Coke started the seventh inning and walked J.J.

Hardy. Denard Span bunted him over and then Coke hit lefties Joe Mauer and Jason

Kubel to load the bases. Manager Jim Leyland went to the righty Perry against

Michael Cuddyer, who walked on four pitches to tie the game.

“I wasn’t able to put it in the zone when I needed it,”

said Perry, whose Tigers fell 11 games behind Minnesota.

Young followed with a sharp single to right field for the

lead, but the inning ended when Kubel was thrown out at home plate.

Duensing dropped his ERA to 2.04, giving up three

unearned runs.

Hardy’s throwing error in the first inning led to two

unearned runs for the Tigers on singles by Peralta and Brandon Inge. Hudson then

short-hopped a throw to Cuddyer at first base in the second inning, allowing

Casper Wells to come around and score for a 3-0 lead.

Cuddyer certainly wasn’t at fault for not scooping the

throw, but it’s a play that Justin Morneau, a natural first baseman, has made

regularly over the years. But the All-Star first baseman has been out since the

first week of July with a concussion, and he doesn’t appear to be coming back

anytime soon.

Doctors told the former AL MVP to stay home until Friday

at least. Manager Ron Gardenhire said it was not a set back, but there is no

denying that Morneau isn’t much closer to returning than he was when he started

taking swings at Target Field a few weeks ago.

The Twins also were without Jim Thome, who was given

another day off to rest his stiff back. He is listed as day-to-day.

“We didn’t play very well for about six or seven

innings,” Gardenhire said. “Nothing was happening good for us. We didn’t play

good defense. We didn’t hit much. We stayed after the game and it got exciting

there as we went along.”

NOTES: The Tigers said

they will call up RHP Robbie Weinhardt on Wednesday when rosters expand.

Weinhardt was 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 23 games at Triple-A Toledo. It will be his

second callup of the season. … With Thome on the bench, LF Young was given his

first DH day of the season. Jason Repko played in LF and made an excellent

leaping catch at the wall to take a hit away from Alex Avila in the sixth

inning. … Twins INF Nick Punto (hamstring) did some light running on Tuesday

and said he planned to ramp up his workouts as the week progressed.

Updated August 31, 2010