|Minnesota (66-91) «||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||2||x||4||4||2|
Ryan Doumit had four RBI for Minnesota, including the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning to help the Twins beat the Tigers 4-2 on Friday and cut the their lead in the AL Central back to one game on the White Sox.
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After gaining five games on the White Sox in nine days, the Tigers let their grip slip a little after a four-game sweep of Kansas City. Chicago ended Tampa Bay's eight-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory.
"Nothing comes easy for us, it seems like. We knew the White Sox weren't going to go away," catcher Gerald Laird said.
Rookie Drew Smyly struck out five over 5 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits in a fill-in start for Max Scherzer, but Brayan Villarreal (3-5) walked three to load the bases in the eighth before Doumit's one-out hit put the Twins ahead.
"Villarreal just didn't have it," manager Jim Leyland said, adding: "We got beat. It's simple. They did more than we did."
Doumit exploited an error by Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder to start the seventh inning, following with a broken-bat home run off Phil Coke that made it 2-0. Omar Infante's two-run homer after an error by Justin Morneau spoiled Scott Diamond's shutout in the eighth, tying the game at 2, but Glen Perkins picked up his 16th save with a perfect ninth inning after Doumit's next drive.
"Unfortunately for us watching the scoreboard won't help us. But we can go out there and be a part of one with the other team," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You're looking out there and seeing the Mighty Whities are winning. And we're in one of those twister games. So it is fun."
Cabrera had two hits for the Tigers to raise his league-leading average to .327, but he was thrown out at the plate to end the sixth.
The inning started with a line drive he sent screaming toward right field so hard he thought it was gone, standing to watch it soar before realizing the ball would hit the wall and hustling down the base line. Right fielder Ben Revere, a weak thrower, fired a perfect one-hopper to second to keep Cabrera at first.
Fielder followed with a single, so had Cabrera been able to get second base on his hit he might've scored.
"You watched the game, didn't you?" Leyland said, when asked if he thought Cabrera could've gotten a double.
Delmon Young singled to right after that, and Cabrera was determined to give the Tigers their first run. But Revere's throw was strong and on line, beating Cabrera to the plate to end the inning when he slid instead of colliding into batting title competitor Joe Mauer. Cabrera got up gingerly, but Leyland said he didn't think his star slugger's ankle was bothering him.
Cabrera didn't want to talk about the game afterward.
"He doesn't run like Quintin Berry," Leyland said, when asked if Cabrera was able to go full speed.
Mauer fell five points behind Cabrera by going 0 for 2, but the chase is even more intriguing given Cabrera's legitimate chance to become the first player since 1967 to lead the league in batting, home runs and RBIs in the same season. Cabrera's triple crown depends on holding Mauer off and surpassing Josh Hamilton (42) and Edwin Encarnacion (41) in the home run category. He's gone deep 41 times. He has a comfortable lead in RBI.
Smyly, the team's second-round draft pick in 2010, made his 18th major league start. He was bumped to the bullpen when the Tigers acquired Anibal Sanchez, but he still has a lot of value. He started the second game of the doubleheader last weekend, and when Scherzer was scratched because of a lingering shoulder problem the 23-year-old left-hander got the call again.
Diamond, in three starts against the Tigers this season, has been dominant. Infante's drive was the first homer he gave up against them. Diamond finished 21 innings, allowing only 15 hits and six runs.
"That's a good team, and this is twice in a row he's thrown well against them, so this is fun," Doumit said.
|Ryan Doumit is congratulated by batting coach Joe Vavra after the Twins' win. Doumit has a two-run home run and two-run double. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Austin Jackson, CF||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||.300|
|Omar Infante, 2B||4||1||1||2||0||0||0||.277|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||.327|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.310|
|Delmon Young, DH||4||0||2||0||0||0||2||.274|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.240|
|Andy Dirks, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.314|
|Avisail Garcia, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.341|
|Gerald Laird, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.276|
|HR - Omar Infante (12, Diamond)|
|RBI - Omar Infante 2 (53)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Prince Fielder (11, Misplayed grounder)|
|Brayan Villarreal (L,3-5)||1||1||2||2||3||2||0||2.52|
|IBB - Mauer by Brayan Villarreal|
|HBP - Escobar (by Octavio Dotel)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Drew Smyly 93-60, Phil Coke 15-12, Octavio Dotel 11-9, Brayan Villarreal 28-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Drew Smyly 5-6, Phil Coke 2-0, Octavio Dotel 1-2, Brayan Villarreal 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Drew Smyly 19, Phil Coke 4, Octavio Dotel 4, Brayan Villarreal 7|
|Denard Span, CF||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.287|
|Ben Revere, RF||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.286|
|Joe Mauer, C||2||1||0||0||2||1||2||.322|
|Justin Morneau, 1B||3||1||0||0||1||1||1||.272|
|Ryan Doumit, DH||4||1||2||4||0||1||0||.277|
|Darin Mastroianni, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.252|
|Trevor Plouffe, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.227|
|Jamey Carroll, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.265|
|Matt Carson, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.226|
|Eduardo Escobar, 2B||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.218|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.233|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.238|
|2B - Ryan Doumit (34, Villarreal)|
|HR - Ryan Doumit (17, Coke)|
|SH - Ben Revere (6)|
|RBI - Ryan Doumit 4 (71)|
|SB - Denard Span (17, 3rd base off Villarreal/Laird)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Ben Revere 1|
|E - Justin Morneau (6, Misplayed grounder), Trevor Plouffe (17, Misplayed grounder)|
|Jared Burton (W,3-1)||0.2||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.95|
|Glen Perkins (S,16)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.50|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Diamond 86-58, Jared Burton 5-5, Glen Perkins 8-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Diamond 15-7, Jared Burton 1-0, Glen Perkins 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Scott Diamond 29, Jared Burton 2, Glen Perkins 3|
|Attendance - 30315|
|Game Time - 2:30|
|Temperature - 74|
|Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Ted Barrett|