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Tigers shut down Twins to earn ninth straight win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DETROIT -- Jose Valverde dropped to one knee, then quickly stood up on his left foot, kicking his other leg high in the air and pumping his right fist.

Even by the big closer's exuberant standards, this was a special celebration.

Valverde set a team record with his 43rd save, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Sunday for their ninth straight victory. The last time the Tigers won this many games in a row was 1984, when they went on to win the World Series.

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"I'm happy," Valverde said. "My team is in first place, and that's what I want."

The Tigers reduced their magic number to eight to clinch the AL Central. They extended their lead over second-place Chicago to 10 games -- with the White Sox still playing Sunday.

Doug Fister (8-13) pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits in another terrific start for the Tigers. He's 5-1 since being acquired from Seattle on July 30.

Joaquin Benoit pitched the eighth, and Valverde allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his 43rd save in 43 chances. Valverde walked Joe Mauer and Luke Hughes singled to start the ninth. Chris Parmelee flied out to shallow left, and pinch-hitter Jason Kubel drove in a run with a groundout to first, moving the tying run into scoring position.

When Rene Tosoni struck out swinging to end it, the always demonstrative Valverde began his latest celebration at the mound. Detroit's Todd Jones had 42 saves in 2000.

"It's good, but I want to go to the World Series, big celebration, and be the champion," Valverde said.

Detroit scored both of its runs in the first. Delmon Young singled in Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez scored when Victor Martinez bounced into a double play.

Martinez ended up hitting into four double plays, becoming the first player to do that since Joe Torre on July 21, 1975, for the Mets against Houston, according to STATS, LLC.

Martinez grounded into double plays in his first three at-bats, then came up with a man on first in the eighth and hit a line drive that was caught by Parmelee, the first baseman. After diving toward first to make the catch, Parmelee simply reached out and touched the base to double off the runner.

"I felt like high-fiving Victor -- he was making outs like crazy for us," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire joked. "Apparently, it takes a great hitter to make eight outs in one game, because I've never seen anything like that. Even he looked like he was laughing after the line drive for the fourth one. If I were Victor, I'd probably go home and have a glass of ... orange juice. Maybe even with something else in it."

Minnesota starter Scott Diamond (1-4) allowed two runs, one earned, and seven hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked four.

The Twins have lost eight of nine.

Fister was acquired to give the Tigers more pitching depth, but he's staked a legitimate claim to being Detroit's second-best starter behind Justin Verlander. In his last five starts, he's allowed three earned runs in 36 2/3 innings, striking out 36 and walking four.

Minnesota had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but shortstop Jhonny Peralta made a nice stop on Matt Tolbert's grounder for a force play at second. Fister struck out Drew Butera to end the threat.

Fister finished with five strikeouts and two walks.

The 6-foot-8 Fister also made a couple graceful defensive plays. The right-hander knocked down one comebacker with his glove hand, then scooped up the ball without breaking stride and threw to first for an out. He later jumped to catch a soft line drive up the middle.

"That's something I take pride in, something I have fun with," Fister said. "The best advice I ever got was: 'Try and stay athletic and have some fun.' "

Notes

  • The game was played in two hours, 19 minutes.
  • Minnesota INF Danny Valencia was scratched from the lineup with right shoulder soreness.
  • Ordonez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single.
  • The Tigers travel to Chicago for a three-game series with the White Sox. They'll send Rick Porcello (13-8) to the mound Monday night against John Danks (6-11).
  • Minnesota's next game is Tuesday night at Kansas City. Carl Pavano (8-11) will start for the Twins against Bruce Chen (10-7).
 
Copyright 2015 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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Jose Valverde celebrates nailing down the win for the Tigers as he records his team-record 43rd save. (Getty Images)
Jose Valverde celebrates nailing down the win for the Tigers as he records his team-record 43rd save. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Detroit

D. Fister
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 5
Detroit

D. Young
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jason Repko, RF4000030 .229
Trevor Plouffe, SS4000000 .231
Joe Mauer, DH2100200 .290
Luke Hughes, 3B4010001 .237
Chris Parmelee, 1B3010112 .353
Joe Benson, CF3010012 .167
   a- Jason Kubel, PH1001000 .281
Rene Tosoni, LF4010013 .173
Matt Tolbert, 2B3000002 .199
Drew Butera, C2000012 .161
   b- Brian Dinkelman, PH1000010 .296
    Rene Rivera, C0000000 .152
Totals3114138  
a-grounded out for Benson in the 9th
b-struck out for Butera in the 8th
Batting
2B - Joe Benson (2, Fister)
RBI - Jason Kubel (57)
SB - Joe Benson (1, 2nd base off Fister/Santos)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Tolbert-Plouffe-Parmelee, Hughes-Tolbert-Parmelee, Plouffe-Tolbert-Parmelee, Plouffe-Tolbert-Parmelee, Parmelee
E - Matt Tolbert (6, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Scott Diamond (L,1-4) 6721440 3.94
Jim Hoey 2200010 6.16
IBB - Cabrera by Scott Diamond
WP - Scott Diamond (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Diamond 95-60, Jim Hoey 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Diamond 7-5, Jim Hoey 1-2
Batters Faced - Scott Diamond 27, Jim Hoey 6
Detroit Tigers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Austin Jackson, CF4110024 .254
Magglio Ordonez, RF2110112 .245
    Ramon Santiago, 2B1010000 .265
Delmon Young, LF4021002 .276
Miguel Cabrera, 1B3010101 .329
Victor Martinez, DH4000002 .323
Ryan Raburn, 2B-RF4000021 .235
Jhonny Peralta, SS2010100 .305
Brandon Inge, 3B2010101 .196
Omir Santos, C3010001 .182
Totals2929145  
Batting
RBI - Delmon Young (51)
Team LOB - 7
Detroit Tigers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Doug Fister (W,8-13) 7300250 3.06
Joaquin Benoit (H,27) 1000020 3.18
Jose Valverde (S,43) 1111110 2.56
Pitches-Strikes - Doug Fister 108-74, Joaquin Benoit 16-12, Jose Valverde 23-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Doug Fister 9-7, Jose Valverde 1-1
Batters Faced - Doug Fister 26, Joaquin Benoit 3, Jose Valverde 5
Game Information
Attendance - 36972
Game Time - 2:19
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Mike Muchlinski, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Jerry Layne