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Tigers rally past Twins, foil rookie Liriano's debut

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers insist they haven't given up, though they are playing for little more than pride and perhaps their manager's job.

Craig Monroe hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with two outs in the eighth inning to lift Detroit to a 4-2 win Wednesday over the Minnesota Twins.

The Tigers avoided a three-game sweep after losing 11 of 13 this month.

"I don't think anybody has quit, we're just going through a rough time," Monroe said. "We owe it to ourselves and our fans to play as hard as we can the rest of the season so that everybody can have something to look forward to by the time spring training rolls around."

Curtis Granderson's two-run homer in the third gave the Tigers a lead they clung to until the eighth, when Michael Cuddyer's two-out single tied the score at 2.

Craig Dingman (2-2) got the final four outs for the victory.

"The wins have been hard to come by and today was no different," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said.

While there is speculation that Trammell will -- or should -- be fired, and sports-talk shows are filled with callers saying the former Tigers great should be replaced, he has accepted at least some of the responsibility for what has been a disappointing season.

Victories such as the one over the Twins give Trammell confidence, however, that his players have not quit.

"We're not mailing it in," he said.

The Tigers got strong pitching until Vic Darensbourg's brief appearance with two outs in the eighth.

Joe Mauer and Jacque Jones singled, and Darensbourg was quickly replaced by Dingman, who gave up Cuddyer's hit before getting out of the inning.

Losing pitcher Juan Rincon (6-5) entered in the eighth and gave up three singles and a walk in the inning.

Detroit starter Sean Douglass allowed one run, four hits and a walk in six innings. Jamie Walker gave up one hit in the seventh and Chris Spurling retired the only two batters he faced in the eighth.

Minnesota's Francisco Liriano gave up two runs, two hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings in his first major-league start. The highly touted prospect, the starting pitcher for the World Team in the Futures Game in Detroit during All-Star week, made his major-league debut earlier this month with his first of two relief appearances.

"The nerves have gone away," Liriano said. "I feel better now."

Minnesota lefty Johan Santana, who was scheduled to pitch, had his start pushed back to Saturday because of a blister on his middle finger.

Liriano showed why the Twins are excited about him.

With a mid-90s fastball, changeup and slider, he retired his first seven batters, striking out four in a row, before Vance Wilson walked and Granderson homered to give Detroit a 2-0 lead in the third.

Luis Rodriguez's RBI single pulled Minnesota within a run in the fifth.

Minnesota's Joe Mays pitched the sixth and seventh, giving up four hits.

"Tough loss for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We pitched good enough to win. We didn't score enough runs."

Liriano was acquired in a trade with San Francisco after the 2003 season along with two-time All-Star closer Joe Nathan and right-hander Boof Bonser for catcher A.J. Pierzynski.

"What a trade they made getting Nathan and Liriano and another guy that led the International League in strikeouts," Trammell said. "They got three quality players for A.J. Pierzynski.

"First impressions, I like (Liriano) kind of like (Seattle's) Felix Hernandez, who made his debut against us a month or so ago."

Notes

  • Minnesota 2B Luis Rivas was benched after the third for not chasing a foul ball down the right-field line that 1B Justin Morneau didn't catch. Morneau was charged with an error.
  • Detroit was without its closer, Fernando Rodney, who went to Florida to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their child.
  • Twins RHP Brad Radke is expected to stay in the rotation the rest of the season despite shoulder soreness.
  • Tigers RHP Jeremy Bonderman (elbow stiffness) had a limited bullpen session before the game, and could return to the rotation early next week in Kansas City.
  • Detroit 1B Dmitri Young missed his sixth straight game with a leg injury.
  • The game started after a weather delay of 13 minutes, then there was a 26-minute delay because of rain in the top of the third inning.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Craig Monroe seals the win with his tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the eighth.  (AP)
Craig Monroe seals the win with his tiebreaking two-run single with two outs in the eighth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

C. Monroe
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Detroit

C. Granderson
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Minnesota Twins
Jason Tyner, LF3010002 .267
   a- Lew Ford, PH-LF2000001 .264
Juan Castro, 3B4000002 .273
Joe Mauer, C2110100 .301
Jacque Jones, CF4010012 .252
Michael Cuddyer, RF4011001 .255
Justin Morneau, 1B4110012 .240
Michael Ryan, DH2000011 .239
   b- Matthew LeCroy, PH-DH1000100 .265
    Nick Punto, PR-DH0000000 .244
Luis Rivas, 2B1010000 .259
    Luis Rodriguez, 2B2021000 .265
Jason Bartlett, SS4000003 .257
Totals332822314 
a-flied out for Tyner in the 8th
b-grounded out for Ryan in the 7th
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (19, Douglass)
SH - Luis Rodriguez (6)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer (33), Luis Rodriguez (14)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Morneau-Bartlett-Liriano, Bartlett-Rodriguez-Morneau
E - Justin Morneau (7, )
Minnesota Twins
Francisco Liriano 5222161 3.86
Joe Mays 2400000 5.26
Juan Rincon (L,6-5) 1322120 2.71
Pitches-Strikes - Francisco Liriano 69-0, Joe Mays 25-0, Juan Rincon 32-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Francisco Liriano 2-6, Joe Mays 1-4, Juan Rincon 1-0
Batters Faced - Francisco Liriano 17, Joe Mays 9, Juan Rincon 7
Detroit Tigers
Placido Polanco, 2B4120000 .336
Brandon Inge, 3B3000012 .262
Chris Shelton, 1B4010023 .301
Magglio Ordonez, RF3000121 .315
    Nook Logan, PR-CF0000000 .259
Craig Monroe, LF-RF4012011 .277
Carlos Pena, DH4010022 .237
Omar Infante, SS3010000 .221
Vance Wilson, C2100102 .197
Curtis Granderson, CF-LF3232000 .286
Totals304942811 
Batting
2B - Curtis Granderson (4, Mays)
HR - Curtis Granderson (5, Liriano)
SH - Brandon Inge (4)
RBI - Craig Monroe 2 (84), Curtis Granderson 2 (13)
2-OUT RBI - Craig Monroe 2 (25)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Infante-Polanco-Shelton
Detroit Tigers
Sean Douglass 6411130 6.25
Jamie Walker (H,11) 1100000 3.50
Chris Spurling (H,6) 0.2000000 3.30
Vic Darensbourg0200000 2.37
Craig Dingman (BS,1; W,2-2) 1.1111100 3.71
HBP - Mauer (by Sean Douglass)
Pitches-Strikes - Sean Douglass 89-0, Jamie Walker 7-0, Chris Spurling 5-0, Vic Darensbourg 7-0, Craig Dingman 20-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Douglass 5-9, Jamie Walker 2-1, Craig Dingman 2-2
Batters Faced - Sean Douglass 23, Jamie Walker 4, Chris Spurling 2, Vic Darensbourg 2, Craig Dingman 6
Game Information
Attendance - 19438
Game Time - 2:26
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - Alfonso Marquez, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Chris Guccione