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Detroit at Minnesota

W: S. Baker (8-5) L: B. Penny (7-7)
S: J. Nathan (7)
HR: DET - None   MIN - D. Valencia (12)

Twins snap 11-game losing streak to Tigers

CBSSports.com wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- There was almost no point to the Minnesota Twins talking about getting back into the AL Central race while the division-leading Detroit Tigers were beating their brains out every time they took the field.

The Twins finally figured out how to beat these Tigers on Saturday, an important mental hurdle as a 12-game homestand draws to a close.

Scott Baker pitched five scoreless innings and the Twins bullpen came through with four solid innings of relief in a 4-1 victory over the Tigers, snapping Detroit's 11-game winning streak over Minnesota.

"One win is not exactly where we need to be, but we're headed in the right direction," Baker said. "We can compete with those guys. We know that. It's just a matter of the starting pitching going out there and giving us a chance to win."

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The Tigers had averaged about seven runs per game during their winning streak, which included outscoring the Twins 14-4 in the first two games of this series to push them seven games back in the division.

But Baker's return sparked a superb all-around game from the pitching staff.

Baker (8-5) allowed three hits and struck out five in his first start since July 5. Anthony Swarzak, Phil Dumatrait and Glen Perkins bridged the gap to Joe Nathan, who picked up his seventh save.

Danny Valencia homered and Delmon Young added a two-run double for the Twins, who had not beaten Detroit since Sept. 1 of last year.

"I like to beat these guys," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We needed a win today. That was big. They've played better than us up to this point and we're still trying to catch them. Today really would have made it tougher on us if we would've lost."

Brad Penny (7-7) gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Tigers, who got two hits and an RBI from Miguel Cabrera but not much else on offense.

Baker missed his previous two starts with a strained elbow. He was scratched from his final start before the All-Star break, then he gave the team a little surprise last Sunday when he told them he still wasn't sure if he was ready to get back on the mound.

He didn't appear to miss a beat in his first game back. Baker breezed through five innings, allowing just one runner past first base as the Twins built a 4-0 lead. The Twins wanted to limit him to 75-80 pitches, so Baker left after five with his pitch count at 82.

"The first inning I felt like maybe I could've gone in either direction," Baker said. "But as the game went on, it was great. It was exactly what I wanted to happen."

The early exit put more pressure on an already overworked bullpen, but it didn't matter on this day. Swarzak gave up a run-scoring double to Cabrera in the sixth, but Perkins fanned Magglio Ordonez and Cabrera in the eighth and Nathan stranded one runner at second for the win.

"That's not going to keep happening," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of his team's recent dominance in the matchup. "We knew that. That's a good team over there and they're playing pretty good right now."

Penny didn't look nearly as sharp as Baker, but he twice avoided the big inning to keep the Tigers in striking distance.

Valencia hit his solo homer an estimated 403 feet into the second deck in left field for a 2-0 lead in the second inning and Young had a two-run double in the fourth.

But the Twins left plenty of runs on the bases. They squandered a two-on, nobody-out situation in the third, and Penny got Ben Revere to ground into a double play to limit the fourth inning to just two runs.

"These are games where you can catch back up so we really needed to come out and get a win today," Young said. "If we come out and win tomorrow, we're still five back. You don't want to get back down to nine or something like that."


  • SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who has been struggling mightily at the plate, was the only Twins player to have two hits.
  • Michael Cuddyer's RBI single in the first provided the other run for the Twins.
  • Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta entered the game with a .432 average in 12 career games at Target Field, including five homers and 15 RBI. He went 2 for 4 with a single and a double on Saturday.
Copyright 2016 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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Danny Valencia's solo homer stakes the Twins to an early 2-0 lead; he later scores again on Delmon Young's double. (Getty Images)
Danny Valencia's solo homer stakes the Twins to an early 2-0 lead; he later scores again on Delmon Young's double. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game

D. Valencia
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1

M. Cabrera
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Detroit Tigers
Andy Dirks, CF3000010 .250
   a- Ryan Raburn, PH-CF1010000 .221
Brennan Boesch, LF4110021 .297
Magglio Ordonez, RF3010111 .241
Miguel Cabrera, 1B4021012 .315
Victor Martinez, DH4000014 .313
Jhonny Peralta, SS4020001 .324
Carlos Guillen, 2B4010012 .360
Alex Avila, C3000111 .277
Don Kelly, 3B2000000 .235
   b- Wilson Betemit, PH-3B1000011 .278
a-doubled for Dirks in the 8th
b-struck out for Kelly in the 7th
2B - Ryan Raburn (15, Perkins), Miguel Cabrera (24, Swarzak), Jhonny Peralta (19, Nathan)
RBI - Miguel Cabrera (64)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Cabrera (25)
CS - Carlos Guillen (1, 2nd base by Baker/Mauer)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Peralta-Guillen-Cabrera, Guillen-Peralta-Cabrera, Guillen-Peralta-Cabrera
E - Jhonny Peralta (6, Throwing)
Detroit Tigers
Brad Penny (L,7-7) 7744341 4.51
David Purcey 0.2000210 4.96
Lester Oliveros 0.1000000 5.63
WP - Brad Penny (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Penny 102-58, David Purcey 29-18, Lester Oliveros 2-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Penny 9-5, David Purcey 1-0
Batters Faced - Brad Penny 28, David Purcey 4, Lester Oliveros 1
Minnesota Twins
Ben Revere, CF3110102 .252
Alexi Casilla, 2B3000101 .260
Joe Mauer, C3000111 .289
Michael Cuddyer, 1B3011101 .299
Jason Kubel, DH4110013 .311
Danny Valencia, 3B3211102 .234
Delmon Young, LF3012010 .259
Trevor Plouffe, RF3000011 .203
    Jason Repko, RF0000000 .240
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS3020010 .233
2B - Delmon Young (14, Penny)
HR - Danny Valencia (12, Penny)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer (48), Danny Valencia (53), Delmon Young 2 (25)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer (18)
SB - Ben Revere (14, 2nd base off Penny/Avila)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Nishioka-Casilla-Cuddyer
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (W,8-5) 5300150 2.88
Anthony Swarzak 1311000 3.64
Phil Dumatrait (H,4) 1000110 4.98
Glen Perkins (H,14) 1100020 1.63
Joe Nathan (S,7) 1100010 5.06
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 82-55, Anthony Swarzak 22-16, Phil Dumatrait 9-4, Glen Perkins 12-11, Joe Nathan 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anthony Swarzak 2-1, Phil Dumatrait 1-0, Glen Perkins 1-0, Joe Nathan 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 18, Anthony Swarzak 6, Phil Dumatrait 3, Glen Perkins 4, Joe Nathan 4
Game Information
Attendance - 40764
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Field Culbreth