|Minnesota (53-41) «||0||1||0||1||0||0||3||1||0||6||12||1|
DETROIT -- Brendan Harris has been swinging like a middle-of-the-order slugger over the last month. A last-minute position change was hardly enough to sway him from his routine.
"Sometimes it's hard because you have to prepare differently," said Harris, who moved to shortstop from third after Nick Punto was a late scratch. "But I knew I was already playing. I've been swinging the bat pretty good lately and today was a good day."
The infielder, part of a six-player deal that sent pitcher Matt Garza to Tampa Bay, was hitting a paltry .232 through June 17. Since then, he's hitting .357 in 21 games with three homers and 14 RBI.
Joe Mauer, the starting catcher for the AL All-Star team, added a two-run home run to help the Twins improve to 21-6 since June 13, the majors' best record in that span.
Harris singled in the Twins' first two runs and opened the seventh inning with a solo shot off Tigers starter Nate Robertson (6-8) that give Minnesota the lead for good.
Minnesota's Scott Baker (6-2) allowed four runs and six hits in seven-plus innings and won for the fourth time in five starts. All-Star closer Joe Nathan had three strikeouts in the ninth for his 27th save in 29 chances.
"Baker was very good and our bullpen came in and got the outs they needed to," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team won a one-run game for the third straight day.
"It was another good win."
The victory was Minnesota's fifth straight against the Tigers. The Twins have won eight straight division games and are 27-16 against Central foes this season.
Nathan's save was his 26th in as many career chances against Detroit, the most without a blown save against one opponent among active relievers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The right-hander was a lot happier his team won.
"To be able to win and pitch as well as we have as a bullpen is great," he said. "It always seems like a battle when we play Detroit."
The Tigers are 4-10 against Minnesota and 13-24 against AL Central teams. Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who lamented the Tigers' offensive inconsistency before the game, found a familiar culprit.
"They did just enough and we didn't do enough. That sums up the game," he said. "We had plenty of scoring opportunties, but couldn't get the big hit."
After RBI singles by Harris in the second and fourth gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead, Matt Joyce tied the game for Detroit with his eighth homer of the season, a two-run shot that landed a few feet inside the right-field foul pole.
Down 6-2 in the eighth, the Tigers pulled to 6-5 on Curtis Granderson's two-run homer and pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn's RBI groundout. But reliever Brian Bass came on and stranded the tying run at third when he induced an inning-ending grounder by Marcus Thames.
Robertson allowed five runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He hasn't won since June 21.
"We're in a tough spot right now," the lefty said. "There's plenty of baseball left but we just aren't doing enough right now."
|The Twins get a big offensive boost from Brendan Harris, who homers and drives in four runs. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Carlos Gomez, CF||5||0||1||0||0||0||0||.256|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||5||1||2||0||0||0||1||.316|
|Joe Mauer, C||5||1||2||2||0||1||2||.324|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||1||1||0||1||0||2||.323|
|Craig Monroe, DH||3||1||0||0||1||2||1||.203|
|a- Jason Kubel, PH-DH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.265|
|Delmon Young, LF||5||1||2||0||0||1||4||.286|
|Brian Buscher, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.316|
|Brendan Harris, SS||3||1||3||4||0||0||0||.262|
|Denard Span, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.338|
|a-walked for Monroe in the 9th|
|2B - Alexi Casilla (13, Zumaya), Brian Buscher (5, Lopez)|
|HR - Joe Mauer (5, Robertson), Brendan Harris (5, Robertson)|
|SF - Brendan Harris (4)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (41), Brendan Harris 4 (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer 2 (22), Brendan Harris 2 (15)|
|SB - Delmon Young (10, 3rd base off Robertson/Inge)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|E - Alexi Casilla (5, Throwing)|
|Scott Baker (W,6-2)||7||6||4||4||0||4||2||3.47|
|Jesse Crain (H,11)||0.1||1||1||1||1||1||0||2.79|
|Dennys Reyes (H,11)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.77|
|Brian Bass (H,3)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.24|
|Joe Nathan (S,27)||1||0||0||0||1||3||0||1.13|
|HBP - Santiago (by Scott Baker)|
|WP - Dennys Reyes (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 102-66, Jesse Crain 12-7, Dennys Reyes 4-2, Brian Bass 3-2, Joe Nathan 23-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 6-11, Dennys Reyes 1-0, Brian Bass 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Scott Baker 28, Jesse Crain 3, Dennys Reyes 1, Brian Bass 1, Joe Nathan 4|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||5||1||1||2||0||2||4||.295|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||3||.306|
|Carlos Guillen, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.284|
|Miguel Cabrera, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.288|
|Matt Joyce, RF||3||1||1||2||0||0||0||.267|
|a- Ryan Raburn, PH-RF||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||.236|
|Marcus Thames, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.269|
|Gary Sheffield, DH||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.217|
|Brandon Inge, C||3||0||2||0||1||0||0||.224|
|Ramon Santiago, SS||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.348|
|b- Jeff Larish, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.234|
|a-grounded out for Joyce in the 8th|
|b-struck out for Santiago in the 9th|
|HR - Curtis Granderson (10, Baker), Matt Joyce (8, Baker)|
|SH - Ramon Santiago (4)|
|RBI - Curtis Granderson 2 (33), Matt Joyce 2 (17), Ryan Raburn (11)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Nate Robertson (L,6-8)||7||10||5||5||0||4||2||5.26|
|IBB - Morneau by Joel Zumaya|
|WP - Joel Zumaya 2 (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Nate Robertson 95-65, Aquilino Lopez 25-13, Joel Zumaya 31-17|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nate Robertson 12-5, Joel Zumaya 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Nate Robertson 31, Aquilino Lopez 5, Joel Zumaya 6|
|Attendance - 41301|
|Game Time - 3:04|
|Temperature - 79|
|Umpires - Home - Ed Montague, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Jerry Layne|