Twins 8, Tigers 4, 10 innings
By the end of the night, though, order was restored.
Minnesota overcame an early 4-0 deficit, then got four runs in the 10th inning for an 8-4 win, their 19th victory over the Tigers in the last 20 meetings.
“The Tigers were playing hard and playing tough, but we felt we could score some runs,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We didn’t get tight—you could see it in the dugout. We had some ugly things happen, but guys were still laughing.”
“I’m just going out there and playing and trying to contribute to the team,” said Jones, who is limited to serving as the designated hitter because of a sore groin. “We’re trying to get this thing turned around, so I’m going to do anything I can.”
Hunter had four RBIs, while Jones had three for the Twins.
“Those are the type of guys we need to get hot right now,” Gardenhire said. “If they do, we can still do some good things.”
Bobby Higginson hit his ninth homer and drove in three runs for Detroit.
“I’m very disappointed—this is not a good night for me,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “We had a chance to win this game, and we shot ourselves in the foot. In key situations down the stretch, we just didn’t do the job.”
With the game tied at 4, Chris Mears retired the first batter in the 10th, then walked Doug Mientkiewicz and Corey Koskie. Rookie Shane Loux entered and Jones greeted him with a liner to the right-center field scoreboard to drive in two runs. Hunter followed with a long homer to left, his 21st, to give Minnesota an 8-4 lead.
Trammell also had veteran Steve Sparks ready to go, but chose Loux instead.
“Shane’s been pitching well, and I’m trying to give guys opportunities to perform,” he said. “I know he is normally a middle guy, but we don’t have that kind of structure in our bullpen. He just didn’t pitch well tonight.”
Juan Rincon (3-4) picked up the win with two scoreless innings of relief.
Mears (0-1), the sixth of eight Tigers pitchers, allowed two runs and walked three in 1 1-3 innings for his first major league loss.
“I would have liked to stay in longer, but that’s my decision,” said Roney, who had allowed 12 runs in four innings over his previous two starts. “I thought I was a lot better tonight than I’ve been the last two times—I just went out there and did what I do.”
The Tigers went up 1-0 in the first on Higginson’s RBI groundout, then added three more runs in the third.
Brandon Inge led off with a single, took second on Ramon Santiago’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Alex Sanchez’s single to right. Warren Morris followed with a single, but Sanchez rounded third too far and was thrown out. That cost Detroit a run as Higginson followed with a two-run homer to right.
The Twins made it 4-2 in the fourth on RBI singles by Jones and A.J. Pierzynski.
Minnesota tied it with two more runs in the sixth. Jamie Walker replaced Roney to start the inning, and after retiring the leadoff hitter, allowed a single to Koskie and a double to Jones. Hunter then lined a two-run single into the right-field corner to tie it 4-4.
Detroit got a baserunner—Sanchez—to third in the eighth, but LaTroyHawkins retired pinch-hitter Craig Monroe to end the inning.
Detroit turned two double plays, giving the Tigers an AL-leading 132 this season. … Minnesota is 10-1 against Detroit this year, but just 11-20 against the rest of the AL Central. … Pinch-runner Ben Petrick was retired in an unusual fashion in the seventh. He broke for second on a full count to Carlos Pena, and was thrown out even though the pitch was ball four. Because Petrick overslid the base, he was ruled to have reached second on the walk, then left the base, making him eligible to be tagged out. … Detroit fell to1-9 in extra-inning games.