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Detroit at Minnesota

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Detroit (16-12)0002000013110
Minnesota (18-9) «200001001480

Twins' Hardy beats Tigers in ninth inning with glove, bat

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- It was already a difficult day for the Detroit Tigers, and then they lost a tough game to the Minnesota Twins.

Hours after learning beloved former Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell had died, Detroit fell to Minnesota 4-3 on Tuesday night on J.J. Hardy's stellar ninth inning.

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers

Danny Knobler
The baseball world is a sadder place with the news that Ernie Harwell died at his home in Detroit. We knew it was coming, but it still leaves an empty feeling. More

Scott Miller
Ernie Harwell is gone, probably talking with angels in his beautiful, courtly manner, and the voice of our game is momentarily silenced, forever changed. More

Related links

Miller: Harwell from Sept. 17, 2009

Pay respects: RIP Ernie

Twins 4, Tigers 3 | Team mourns Harwell

Hardy saved a run with a brilliant defensive play at shortstop in the top of the ninth, then tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom half.

"You hate to see any game end like that, whether you win it or lose it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

Word of Harwell's death at 92 started to spread shortly after the game began.

Brennan Boesch's home run in the ninth tied it for the Tigers and Alex Avila hit a two-out double. Hardy made a sliding stop on grounder by Ramon Santiago and threw out Avila after he rounded third base too quickly.

"I was just trying to get to that ball and knock it down so that he wouldn't score," Hardy said. "I came up with it, turned and threw the ball to [third baseman Nick Punto] and let him do the rest."

Hardy hit a one-out triple and scored the winning run when a pitch from Ryan Perry (1-2) zipped past Avila and into the Tigers' dugout.

"I hit it and I started shaking my head 'No' because I thought the outfielder was going to catch it," Hardy said of his hit.

Nick Blackburn (2-1) gave up three runs on 11 hits in his fourth career complete game.

"Blackie just pitched super," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He was running through it and had his sinker working. That was his ballgame all the way. He was on a mission tonight. He really threw the heck out of the ball."

Dontrelle Willis pitched well for the Tigers, giving up three runs on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

For most of the night, the Tigers seemed to be missing something as Blackburn needed just 85 pitches to get through eight innings.

Harwell, the Hall of Fame announcer, died after a long battle with cancer. He called Tigers games for 42 years of his brilliant 55-year career and became one of the most treasured sports figures in Michigan history.

The Twins announced the news to the Target Field crowd during the seventh-inning stretch, putting a picture of his smiling face on the big screen. Twins fans saluted him with a warm standing ovation.

"His passion and wisdom during each broadcast gave you insight to his love for the Tigers, and for the state of Michigan," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "The entire Detroit Tigers' family extends their heartfelt condolences to his wife, Lulu, and the Harwell family."

Jim Thome had an RBI double and Delmon Young had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who were missing MVP Joe Mauer for the fourth straight game. Mauer is out with a bruised left heel and is listed as day-to-day after an MRI exam showed no structural damage.

Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera each had two hits and an RBI for Detroit.

Notes
  • Tigers C Gerald Laird left the game after fouling a ball off his left shin in the fifth inning. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.
  • Ordonez hit a sharp single to right field in the sixth inning and Twins RF Michael Cuddyer tried to throw him out at first base. Ordonez was none too pleased, giving a long look out at Cuddyer after the play.
  • Twins C Wilson Ramos, who was 7 for 9 in his first two big league games, went 0 for 3.
 
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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J.J. Hardy is the hero of the night in Minnesota after scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth inning. (AP)
J.J. Hardy is the hero of the night in Minnesota after scoring on a wild pitch in the ninth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Hardy
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
Detroit

M. Ordonez
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Detroit Tigers
Austin Jackson, CF3110101 .376
Johnny Damon, DH4110002 .314
Magglio Ordonez, RF4021001 .291
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4021011 .355
Brennan Boesch, LF4111004 .294
Brandon Inge, 3B4010013 .255
Scott Sizemore, 2B4000004 .250
Gerald Laird, C2000000 .141
    Alex Avila, C2010000 .162
Adam Everett, SS3010000 .182
   a- Ramon Santiago, PH-SS1010001 .315
Totals35311312  
a-singled for Everett in the 9th
Batting
2B - Alex Avila (3, Blackburn), Adam Everett (3, Blackburn)
HR - Brennan Boesch (2, Blackburn)
RBI - Magglio Ordonez (20), Miguel Cabrera (28), Brennan Boesch (10)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Everett-Sizemore-Cabrera, Inge-Sizemore-Cabrera
Detroit Tigers
Dontrelle Willis 5.1433360 3.99
Joel Zumaya 1.2200020 1.10
Phil Coke 0.1100000 1.88
Ryan Perry (L,1-2) 1111000 3.00
WP - Ryan Perry (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Dontrelle Willis 97-57, Joel Zumaya 25-18, Phil Coke 8-5, Ryan Perry 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dontrelle Willis 7-3, Joel Zumaya 2-0, Ryan Perry 2-0
Batters Faced - Dontrelle Willis 23, Joel Zumaya 6, Phil Coke 2, Ryan Perry 3
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF4010010 .250
Orlando Hudson, 2B3100110 .297
Justin Morneau, 1B4010022 .351
Jim Thome, DH4111021 .263
Michael Cuddyer, RF3110101 .309
Delmon Young, LF4021000 .274
J.J. Hardy, SS4121002 .250
Wilson Ramos, C3000011 .583
Nick Punto, 3B2000110 .237
Totals3148338  
Batting
2B - Jim Thome (4, Willis), Michael Cuddyer (6, Willis)
3B - J.J. Hardy (1, Perry)
RBI - Jim Thome (15), Delmon Young (11), J.J. Hardy (11)
2-OUT RBI - Jim Thome (6), Delmon Young (8)
SB - Orlando Hudson (3, 2nd base off Willis/Laird)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Blackburn-Hardy-Morneau, Hardy-Hudson-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Nick Blackburn (W,2-1) 91133121 5.79
Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 95-67
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 16-6
Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 36
Game Information
Attendance - 39020
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Jim Reynolds