MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins finally figured out their ninth-inning nemesis, Troy Percival.
Shannon Stewart hit an RBI ground-rule double off Detroit's new closer with one out in the ninth inning, giving the Twins a 5-4 victory over the Tigers on Tuesday night.
"You start reading about it in the Guinness Book of World Records -- it's about time we got to him," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team got its first earned run against Percival in 40 1/3 career innings.
Before Stewart's big hit, Percival (0-1) was the only active major leaguer with at least 40 innings logged against one opponent with an ERA of zero.
"I don't care about my personal stats," he said. "That was just a bad time to not pitch well."
Percival's setup man, Ugueth Urbina, didn't have it, either.
Eleven of his first 15 pitches in the eighth were balls. Bartlett and Joe Mauer walked, with Bartlett eventually scoring on Torii Hunter's high-bouncing single over third baseman Brandon Inge's head to tie the game at 4.
With Percival pitching, Lew Ford singled to start the ninth and moved to second on a sacrifice by Michael Cuddyer. Pinch-hitter Nick Punto walked, bringing up Stewart -- who smacked the first pitch to center field.
"I just happened to get a good piece of the bat on it," said Stewart, whose ninth-inning single off Percival in September 2003 also helped Minnesota score against the closer -- unearned, of course.
But this was the first time Minnesota succeeded against Percival -- who signed with Detroit after 10 seasons in Anaheim -- without the aid of a defensive mistake.
"It had to happen sooner or later," Ford said.
Juan Rincon (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the victory. Rookie Jason Bartlett hit his first major-league homer and Cuddyer also went deep for the Twins.
Craig Monroe, a career .348 hitter against Minnesota, spoiled Joe Mays' return to the rotation with a two-run home run in the fifth. Monroe went 2-for-4 with two runs and started a rally in the seventh by reaching on an infield single. He scored on Omar Infante's broken-bat blooper that fell in shallow center field with two outs, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead.
But Detroit's two big bullpen additions, who are making nearly $10 million between them this season, couldn't protect it.
"That's who we rely on, but so far it hasn't worked out for us," manager Alan Trammell said.
Mays had ligament replacement surgery on his elbow in September 2003 and hadn't started since Aug. 29 that year. His nerves showed in a 23-pitch first inning, when Dmitri Young's soft two-out roller sneaked through the infield for an RBI single.
After settling in, Mays walked Pena to start the fifth. Then Monroe followed with a line drive to the corner in left field that barely cleared the wall but put the Tigers ahead 3-1.
Mays completed five innings, allowing four hits, three runs and four walks while striking out three and throwing 82 pitches -- 52 strikes.
"I really didn't care for the four walks, but understanding that this is my first start in some time," Mays said, "I've got to be happy with what I did and roll with the punches."
Tigers starter Mike Maroth couldn't hold his two-run lead, allowing Cuddyer's towering homer in the fifth and leaving after a bunt single by Mauer started the sixth.
A throwing error by Inge on the play moved Mauer to second. He advanced on Hunter's infield single and tied the game at 3 on a groundout by Jacque Jones.
Maroth gave up five hits, three runs -- two earned -- and one walk. He struck out three and threw 52 of his 81 pitches for strikes.
"We've got a strong offense, but it takes more than that to win games," Maroth said.
Returning from a viral infection that kept him out the last four games, Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts for the Tigers. ... The Twins have been outscored 12-0 in the first inning this year, allowing runs in six of their seven games. ... Inge is 1-for-15 in his career against Mays. ... Bartlett's homer was the first by a Twins infielder this season. ... In four innings this year, Urbina has allowed six hits, five runs and two walks. Percival has given up five hits, three runs and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.