Twins take series from first-place Tigers
By Dana Gauruder, The Sports Xchange
DETROIT -- The Minnesota Twins brought a four-game losing streak to Comerica Park this week. They came away with a rare feeling of satisfaction.
The fourth-place Twins took two of three in the series against the American League Central Division-leading Detroit Tigers, including a 7-6 squeaker on Thursday.
Chris Herrmann, who had three hits and two RBI, delivered the tiebreaking double in the eighth inning.
"That's huge," Herrmann said. "This team is in first place. Anytime we can take two of three from a first-place team, that's great. Hopefully, this will get us on a roll."
With his club still 14 games under .500, manager Ron Gardenhire was happy to see it show some heart and perseverance. The Twins squandered a four-run lead in the sixth but didn't get discouraged.
"You get two of three here against a great team like this, we'll take it," he said. "The guys were playing pretty hard and they were rooting for each other in the dugout."
They also caught a break when center fielder Austin Jackson misjudged Herrmann's fly ball. It tailed away from Jackson and eluded his glove. He didn't try to make a sliding catch for fear it would bounce past him.
"It looked like it was going straight toward Jackson," Herrmann said. "I guess the wind took it and it ended up falling in the gap. I'm not sure what happened but I'll take it. I hit it hard and I'm just fortunate it fell and we got the game-winning RBI."
Herrmann's two-out double off Drew Smyly brought home Doug Bernier, who drew a one-out walk against Bruce Rondon (1-2).
"Looked like it just sailed," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Looked like a real freaky (one). When it first went up, I thought it was just an out, but it just shot that way."
Ryan Doumit blasted a three-run home run for Minnesota and Casey Fien (3-2) pitched one inning of scoreless relief to earn the victory. Glenn Perkins recorded his 30th save, inducing a double-play ball from Victor Martinez to get out of a two-on, one-out jam in the ninth.
Jackson blasted a game-tying, three-run homer in the sixth for Detroit. Bryan Holaday hit his first career home run, a solo shot, in the third.
Justin Verlander, who had a 9-0 record with a 1.67 ERA in his last 10 starts against the Twins, gave up six runs and 10 hits in seven innings for Detroit. It was just the second time this season he gave up six or more runs.
Leyland said Verlander was still having a good season but Verlander had a different take.
"I would also use the word frustrating," said Verlander, who is 12-9 with a 3.68 ERA. "It's been quite a grind for me all year, a real battle. All in all, you look at the numbers, it could be a whole lot worse."
Jackson's three-run shot highlighted a four-run sixth-inning rally that tied the game 6-6. Twins starter Andrew Albers retired the first two batters before giving up three consecutive hits, including an RBI single to Holaday. Gardenhire replaced Albers with Josh Roenicke, but Jackson hit his second pitch into the leftfield stands.
"It seems like every mistake you make, they make you pay for it," Gardenhire said. "That's just the way their ball club is. They can put up runs in a hurry and you get later in the game, they seem to rise to the occasion. That's why they are where they're at. But we held on there at the end and that was pretty fun."
Doumit's two-out homer in the fifth gave the Twins a 5-2 advantage and Brian Dozier's RBI double in the sixth nudged the lead to four runs.
NOTES: The Tigers return to interleague action this weekend with a three-game series against the New York Mets. Leyland said he could not manage in New York because of the media's thirst for controversy and the fast-paced lifestyle. "I wouldn't be able to handle it," he said. "For two or three days, I love it there but it's too overwhelming for me." ... Minnesota completes a stretch of 27 games in 27 days with a three-game series at Cleveland. ... Catcher Joe Mauer, who was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list late Tuesday, flew back to Minnesota Thursday. The club is hopeful he can return sometime next week. ... Torii Hunter's two-run double in Detroit's 7-1 victory on Wednesday was the first time in the 38-year-old's career he had a go-ahead RBI on a two-out, two-strike count in the seventh inning or later, according to Elias Sports Bureau.