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Detroit (85-73) «04003000x790

Tigers top Twins, need one win to clinch AL Central title

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Magglio Ordonez is supposed to help the Detroit Tigers win titles. Eddie Bonine is a bit of a surprise.

COMMENTARY
Tigers ready to prove they deserve AL Central crown
by Danny Knobler
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Ordonez hit a three-run double, Bonine lasted five innings after a shaky start and the Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Wednesday night to move closer to the AL Central title.

"You need everyone on your team to step up right now, and that's what happened tonight," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Bonine was fantastic - we got more from him than we could have asked -- and the offense gave us the runs he needed."

The Tigers increased their lead to three games over the Twins, and can clinch their first division title since 1987 with a victory in Thursday afternoon's series finale.

"We're trying to look at tomorrow's game like we would any other game," said Brandon Inge, who had a tying two-run double. "But it is human nature to realize what we can do tomorrow. Even if you don't want to think about it, you do."

Detroit finishes the season with a three-game series at home against Chicago. Minnesota returns home to face Kansas City, including an expected matchup with AL Cy Young Award hopeful Zack Greinke.

"It doesn't look very good right now, but it isn't over yet," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I'm not a math guy, but I believe that tomorrow is a must-win situation."

Bonine (1-1), making his ninth career start, allowed two runs in the first but shut down the Twins for the rest of his outing. He gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out three.

"This is a great, great feeling," said Bonine, who earned his first major league win since June 27, 2008. "After the first, I just settled into a groove and tried to attack. The defense made plays and the guys got the big hits."

The Twins put two runners in scoring position in the final eight innings.

"We really didn't do a thing after the first inning," Gardenhire said. "It just didn't work out tonight."

Ordonez's second key hit in consecutive days broke it open in the fifth. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out against Carl Pavano (13-12), who responded by getting Miguel Cabrera to pop up. Ordonez followed with a drive to center to clear the bases and give the Tigers a 7-2 lead.

"That was the killer blow," Leyland said. "Carl's been tough on us all year, and he had popped up Cabrera, so if he gets Magglio, it's a whole different ballgame."

Ordonez, who was booed by Tigers fans during a poor first half, also had a two-run double in Detroit's 6-5 victory Tuesday night that salvaged a split of the key day-night doubleheader.

"No one in this clubhouse has ever turned their back on Maggs," Inge said. "We know what he's done for this franchise, and we knew he was going to do even more."

Pavano allowed seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He was 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five previous starts against Detroit this year.

"I needed to step up, and I didn't do the job," said Pavano, who would be Minnesota's likely starter if the Twins force a playoff Tuesday at the Metrodome. "They gave me two runs, and that should have been enough. I hope I'll still get a chance to redeem myself."

Bonine was hurt in the first by another defensive mistake by center fielder Curtis Granderson, who misplayed a ball in the ninth inning Tuesday night that helped the Twins pull within one.

Bonine retired leadoff hitter Denard Span, but Orlando Cabrera, Joe Mauer and Jason Kubel followed with consecutive singles to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Michael Cuddyer walked before Delmon Young lifted a fly ball to deep center field. Granderson turned the wrong way, allowing the ball to sail over his head, but recovered quickly enough to hold the Twins to one run and Jose Morales hit into an inning-ending double play.

"That double play was the turning point of the game," Bonine said.

The Tigers quickly erased the deficit, scoring four times in the second. Inge had a tying two-run double and Ramon Santiago singled in a pair of runs.

Notes

  • Gardenhire toured the clubhouse after the game, giving individual pep talks to his players.
  • Leyland said before the game that rookie Alberto Figaro would start Saturday against Chicago -- his first start since a wrist injury put him on the disabled list in late June.
  • The game drew 34,775 fans. Despite the pennant race, the Tigers haven't had a home sellout since July 25, but Leyland understands the tough economic times in Detroit. "This crowd was great, just like every crowd we've had in this series," he said, choking up. "These fans in this city are awfully special."
 
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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Brandon Inge (right) finishes the game with a couple of hits as well as a pair of RBI.  (AP)
Brandon Inge (right) finishes the game with a couple of hits as well as a pair of RBI. (AP)

Players of the Game
Detroit

M. Ordonez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Minnesota

D. Young
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF5020000 .315
Orlando Cabrera, SS5110012 .277
Joe Mauer, C4110101 .366
Jason Kubel, RF3011112 .298
Michael Cuddyer, 1B3010111 .276
Delmon Young, LF4021002 .273
Jose Morales, DH2000201 .327
Matt Tolbert, 3B4010014 .224
Nick Punto, 2B4000024 .230
Totals3429256  
Batting
RBI - Jason Kubel (93), Delmon Young (50)
CS - Matt Tolbert (2, 2nd base by Bonine/Avila)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Punto-Cuddyer
Minnesota Twins
Carl Pavano (L,13-12) 4.2777240 5.07
Jesse Crain 0.2100100 4.59
Ron Mahay 0.2000110 4.38
Jon Rauch 1100020 3.74
Francisco Liriano 1000100 5.84
IBB - Polanco by Ron Mahay
Pitches-Strikes - Carl Pavano 83-54, Jesse Crain 14-6, Ron Mahay 14-6, Jon Rauch 15-11, Francisco Liriano 7-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carl Pavano 1-9, Jesse Crain 1-1, Francisco Liriano 2-0
Batters Faced - Carl Pavano 23, Jesse Crain 4, Ron Mahay 3, Jon Rauch 4, Francisco Liriano 3
Detroit Tigers
Curtis Granderson, CF5000014 .250
Placido Polanco, 2B3110101 .287
Clete Thomas, RF3100113 .241
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4120003 .330
Magglio Ordonez, DH4123001 .299
Carlos Guillen, LF2100111 .253
    Ryan Raburn, LF1000011 .282
Brandon Inge, 3B4122021 .234
Alex Avila, C2000112 .267
    Wilkin Ramirez, PR0000000 .364
    Gerald Laird, C0000100 .226
Ramon Santiago, SS3122001 .276
Totals3179757  
Batting
2B - Magglio Ordonez (23, Pavano), Brandon Inge (15, Pavano)
SH - Ramon Santiago (10)
RBI - Magglio Ordonez 3 (47), Brandon Inge 2 (83), Ramon Santiago 2 (35)
2-OUT RBI - Magglio Ordonez 3 (20)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Polanco-Santiago-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
Eddie Bonine (W,1-1) 5722230 4.46
Zach Miner 2.1200310 4.12
Brandon Lyon 0.2000020 2.96
Fernando Rodney 1000000 4.35
Pitches-Strikes - Eddie Bonine 87-52, Zach Miner 45-23, Brandon Lyon 11-9, Fernando Rodney 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eddie Bonine 6-4, Zach Miner 1-5, Fernando Rodney 3-0
Batters Faced - Eddie Bonine 22, Zach Miner 12, Brandon Lyon 2, Fernando Rodney 3
Game Information
Attendance - 34775
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 54
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Angel Hernandez, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Lance Barksdale