|Minnesota (51-41) «||0||0||2||0||0||0||1||1||2||0||1||7||15||1|
DETROIT -- Justin Morneau narrowly missed one homer on Thursday afternoon.
He took advantage of a second chance.
Three innings after hitting a 425-foot double to the deepest part of Comerica Park, Morneau lined an 11th-inning homer off Freddy Dolsi (1-3) with one out into the right-field stands to give the Minnesota Twins a 7-6 win over the Detroit Tigers.
"I was looking for something to drive, and I just got enough of it," he said. "That was a pretty good feeling rounding the bases."
Morneau matched a career high with five hits, helping the Twins end a three-game losing streak.
"This was a big win," he said. "We were down a couple in the ninth, they made a mistake and we took advantage of it."
Minnesota has won 17 of 22 despite being swept at Fenway Park earlier in the week.
Detroit, which had won its previous three games, was trying to move three games over .500 for the first time since its 24-36 start.
"This was a good win for us after three tough losses in Boston," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Even when we fell behind, we kept making good swings."
Morneau's extra-inning heroics were made possible by two key ninth-inning mistakes by Tigers rookie right fielder Joyce.
Joyce made a key error that helped the Twins overcome a 6-4 deficit in the top of the ninth, then couldn't get a bunt down in the bottom of the inning as the Tigers tried to avoid extra innings.
"This is definitely tough," Joyce said. "I made two big mistakes and they cost us the game."
Minnesota's ninth-inning rally came off Todd Jones, who failed to convert a save for just the second time in 18 chances. Nick Punto singled leading off the ninth and scored on a single by Denard Span that skipped past Joyce in right field. Span, who finished 4-for-4, took third on the error and scored on Joe Mauer's pinch-hit sacrifice fly to tie the game.
"It just caught me between hops," Joyce said. "I looked up to see if Punto was going to third, and it got by me."
"The kid's trying to make a play -- it isn't like he intentionally kicked the ball around," Jones said. "But with a guy on third and no one out and Joe Mauer up, you're going to have to be lucky, and I didn't get lucky."
Twins closer Joe Nathan walked the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, bringing Joyce to the plate. He missed two bunt attempts before striking out. After another walk loaded the bases, Nathan struck out Jeff Larish and Ivan Rodriguez to end the inning.
"We got what we wanted, but we couldn't put a ball in play and end the game," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We couldn't get a fly ball."
The Twins blew an early 2-0 lead.
Brendan Harris started the third with a double off Kenny Rogers and scored on Span's one-out triple before Carlos Gomez made it 2-0 with an RBI groundout.
Rogers allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings. He escaped a first-and-third, no-out jam in the fifth when Larish threw Punto out at the plate on Gomez's grounder, Span was caught stealing third and Alexi Casilla grounded out.
Twins starter Kevin Slowey gave up six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Curtis Granderson hit a run-scoring double in the bottom of the third and Detroit scored five runs in the fourth. Joyce's second homer in as many games started a stretch in which seven of eight batters got hits off Slowey. Ramon Santiago hit a two-run double.
"I kept the ball up and they hit it," Slowey said. "I just didn't make any adjustments at all."
Casilla's sacrifice fly made it 6-3 in the seventh, and Morneau made it a two-run game when he doubled and scored off Fernando Rodney in the eighth.
"We didn't add on after the early runs, but you still have to close out a three-run lead with six outs to go," Leyland said.
|Justin Morneau watches his fifth hit of the game, the go-ahead home run in the 11th inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Carlos Gomez, CF||4||0||0||1||0||1||1||.260|
|a- Joe Mauer, PH-C||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||.328|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||5||0||1||1||0||0||4||.306|
|Mike Redmond, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.279|
|b- Jason Kubel, PH-RF||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.268|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||5||2||5||1||1||0||0||.324|
|Craig Monroe, DH||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.207|
|c- Mike Lamb, PH-DH||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.224|
|Delmon Young, LF||6||0||0||1||0||0||3||.288|
|Brendan Harris, 3B||5||1||1||0||0||0||3||.255|
|Nick Punto, SS||4||2||3||0||1||0||1||.320|
|Denard Span, RF-CF||4||2||4||1||1||0||0||.361|
|a-hit a sacrifice fly for Gomez in the 9th|
|b-singled for Redmond in the 9th|
|c-grounded out for Monroe in the 9th|
|2B - Justin Morneau 2 (20, Rogers, Rodney), Brendan Harris (15, Rogers)|
|3B - Denard Span (2, Rogers)|
|HR - Justin Morneau (14, Dolsi)|
|SF - Joe Mauer (5), Alexi Casilla (5)|
|RBI - Carlos Gomez (31), Joe Mauer (39), Alexi Casilla (36), Justin Morneau (68), Delmon Young (35), Denard Span (7)|
|SB - Denard Span (5, 2nd base off Dolsi/Rodriguez)|
|CS - Denard Span (3, 3rd base by Rogers/Rodriguez)|
|Team LOB - 11|
|DP - Morneau-Punto|
|E - Nick Punto (3, Throwing)|
|Matt Guerrier (W,5-4)||2||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.42|
|IBB - Thomas by Joe Nathan|
|WP - Joe Nathan (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Slowey 77-52, Craig Breslow 29-17, Jesse Crain 25-15, Dennys Reyes 11-8, Joe Nathan 31-15, Matt Guerrier 25-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Slowey 5-4, Jesse Crain 2-3, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Matt Guerrier 3-2|
|Batters Faced - Kevin Slowey 21, Craig Breslow 7, Jesse Crain 7, Dennys Reyes 3, Joe Nathan 6, Matt Guerrier 7|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||6||0||1||1||0||2||4||.299|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||6||0||1||1||0||0||1||.309|
|Carlos Guillen, 3B||4||0||1||0||2||0||1||.284|
|Miguel Cabrera, DH||4||0||0||0||1||0||3||.289|
|Ryan Raburn, PR-DH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.239|
|Matt Joyce, RF||6||1||2||1||0||1||2||.253|
|Marcus Thames, LF||4||1||3||0||0||0||0||.282|
|Clete Thomas, LF||1||0||0||0||1||1||1||.277|
|Jeff Larish, 1B||5||1||3||1||0||1||4||.244|
|Ivan Rodriguez, C||4||1||1||0||1||2||4||.288|
|Ramon Santiago, SS||3||2||1||2||2||1||0||.349|
|2B - Curtis Granderson (13, Slowey), Matt Joyce (5, Guerrier), Jeff Larish (2, Crain), Ramon Santiago (5, Slowey)|
|HR - Matt Joyce (7, Slowey)|
|RBI - Curtis Granderson (31), Placido Polanco (31), Matt Joyce (15), Jeff Larish (8), Ramon Santiago 2 (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Placido Polanco (14)|
|SB - Carlos Guillen (8, 2nd base off Nathan/Mauer)|
|CS - Marcus Thames (3, 3rd base by Breslow/Redmond)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|DP - Rogers-Polanco-Larish|
|E - Matt Joyce (2, Misplayed grounder)|
|Fernando Rodney (H,2)||1||1||1||1||0||0||0||8.64|
|Todd Jones (BS,2)||0.2||3||2||1||0||0||0||5.09|
|Freddy Dolsi (L,1-3)||2.1||2||1||1||2||0||1||3.21|
|IBB - Mauer by Freddy Dolsi|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kenny Rogers 97-62, Fernando Rodney 21-13, Todd Jones 19-12, Bobby Seay 4-0, Freddy Dolsi 34-18|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kenny Rogers 13-5, Fernando Rodney 3-0, Todd Jones 1-1, Freddy Dolsi 4-3|
|Batters Faced - Kenny Rogers 30, Fernando Rodney 4, Todd Jones 5, Bobby Seay 1, Freddy Dolsi 11|
|Attendance - 41952|
|Game Time - 3:57|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Field Culbreth|