|Minnesota (64-89) «||0||0||0||0||0||5||1||4||0||10||13||1|
Scherzer had to leave his previous start after two innings with shoulder fatigue, but he was back on the mound for the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
Was he 100 percent? No -- he couldn't get his normally high-90s fastball past 93 -- but he should have been good enough for the Tigers to win. Instead, he was let down by Detroit's defense and the Twins went on to beat Detroit 10-4.
|More on Tigers-Twins|
The Tigers began the day one-half game behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who played later at the Los Angeles Angels.
Scherzer (16-7) held Minnesota scoreless for the first five innings, mixing the fastball he had with a high percentage of off-speed pitches.
"I knew if I could go out there and mix speeds, it would be just as effective as having velocity," he said. "I know I don't have to have velocity to be a good pitcher."
He wasn't getting any arguments from the Minnesota clubhouse.
"He's still got great stuff, even if he wasn't throwing 97," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's got the great change, a great breaking ball and everything is moving all over the place. We really had to be patient with him."
Despite the diminished velocity, Scherzer isn't worried about making his final two starts, including game 162.
"They kept me rested this week, so maybe that's why I didn't have my normal zip," he said. "Now I'll be back on the regular program, so hopefully that will get things back to normal."
The Tigers led 2-0 early, with an RBI and a run from Miguel Cabrera, but Detroit's notoriously bad defense melted down in the sixth, leading to five Minnesota runs. Ben Revere led off with a fly to left that Andy Dirks dropped just short of the wall. By the time Dirks could locate the ball, Revere was at third with what was ruled a triple.
"I thought I'd be able to stop and make the catch, but the ball kept gaining ground," Dirks said. "I threw my glove up and I hoped I'd get it in the right area. I knew it hit off my glove, and then I hit the wall and didn't know where the ball was, so he gets a triple."
Joe Mauer pulled the Twins within 2-1 with an infield single, and Josh Willingham moved him to third with a double. That brought Phil Coke into the game, and he got Justin Morneau to fly to shallow left.
Dirks, though, got a very late break and the ball dropped for a game-tying single.
Ryan Doumit walked to load the bases, and Trevor Plouffe made it 3-2 with a single on Brayan Villarreal's first pitch. The Twins then added a bizarre run when a third strike got away from Gerald Laird.
Villarreal covered the plate, but stretched for a force out instead of tagging Morneau. He only realized his mistake when home-plate umpire Tom Hallion singled safe.
"That's something I've never seen in 49 years of baseball," Jim Leyland said. "He saw the batter heading for first and thought it was a force play. He's probably not an expert on the rulebook, to be honest with you."
The inning's fifth run then scored when Pedro Florimon beat out an inning-ending double play.
In the seventh, Revere walked, stole second, took third on Laird's throwing error and scored when Dirks made a diving catch of Mauer's foul fly to left. The Twins made it 8-2 on RBI singles by Eduardo Escobar and Revere in the eighth, and Mauer's triple later in the inning got Minnesota to double figures.
"We put together three great innings in a row and got ourselves a win," Gardenhire said. "At this point in the season, that's great to see."
The Twins also got a lot of help from Scott Diamond, who held the Tigers to two runs in seven innings.
"After my last couple starts, I've worked really hard on keeping the ball down in the zone," he said between games. "Today, I was able to execute my pitches where I wanted them."
|Joe Mauer, who tallies three hits and four RBI, slides safely into third base as the Twins oust the Tigers. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Denard Span, CF||5||0||0||0||0||2||4||.286|
|Ben Revere, RF||4||3||3||1||1||0||0||.296|
|Joe Mauer, DH||4||1||3||4||0||0||0||.326|
|Josh Willingham, LF||5||1||1||0||0||1||3||.261|
|Matt Carson, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.244|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||4||1||1||1||1||0||2||.274|
|Ryan Doumit, C||4||2||1||0||1||1||1||.276|
|Trevor Plouffe, 3B||5||0||1||1||0||3||1||.235|
|Eduardo Escobar, 2B||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.213|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.243|
|2B - Josh Willingham (30, Scherzer), Ryan Doumit (32, Downs)|
|3B - Ben Revere (6, Scherzer), Joe Mauer (4, Putkonen)|
|SF - Joe Mauer (3)|
|RBI - Ben Revere (32), Joe Mauer 4 (83), Justin Morneau (77), Trevor Plouffe (52), Eduardo Escobar (9), Pedro Florimon (7)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ben Revere (16), Joe Mauer 2 (28)|
|SB - Ben Revere (38, 3rd base off Villarreal/Laird), Eduardo Escobar (3, 2nd base off Scherzer/Laird), Pedro Florimon (3, 2nd base off Villarreal/Laird)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Justin Morneau (4, Missed catch of throw)|
|Scott Diamond (W,12-8)||7||4||2||2||3||5||0||3.64|
|WP - Alex Burnett (6)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Diamond 104-61, Casey Fien 18-12, Alex Burnett 18-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Diamond 9-6, Alex Burnett 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Scott Diamond 27, Casey Fien 3, Alex Burnett 6|
|Austin Jackson, CF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.300|
|Brennan Boesch, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.244|
|Omar Infante, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.277|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||1||0||.332|
|Danny Worth, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.211|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.306|
|Don Kelly, 1B||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||.187|
|Delmon Young, DH||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.270|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.244|
|Andy Dirks, LF||4||1||0||0||0||0||2||.313|
|Avisail Garcia, RF-CF||3||0||2||2||1||0||0||.375|
|Gerald Laird, C||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.278|
|2B - Miguel Cabrera (39, Diamond)|
|RBI - Miguel Cabrera (132), Delmon Young (72), Avisail Garcia 2 (3)|
|2-OUT RBI - Delmon Young (29), Avisail Garcia 2 (3)|
|CS - Avisail Garcia (2, 2nd base by Diamond/Doumit)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Gerald Laird (3, Throwing)|
|Max Scherzer (L,16-7)||5||6||3||3||1||4||0||3.82|
|Phil Coke (BS,2)||0||1||2||2||1||0||0||3.96|
|WP - Brayan Villarreal (9)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Max Scherzer 86-56, Phil Coke 6-2, Brayan Villarreal 39-22, Darin Downs 20-13, Luke Putkonen 23-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Max Scherzer 2-9, Brayan Villarreal 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Max Scherzer 22, Phil Coke 2, Brayan Villarreal 7, Darin Downs 7, Luke Putkonen 5|
|Attendance - 40438|
|Game Time - 3:05|
|Temperature - 55|
|Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - David Rackley, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez|