Twins 4, Tigers 3

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DETROIT (AP)—The Minnesota Twins keep finding ways to beat the Detroit Tigers.

Corey Koskie and Dustan Mohr each drove in a pair of first-inning runs, and the Twins held on to defeat Detroit 4-3 Sunday for their 20th victory in 21 games against the Tigers.

Minnesota improved to 11-1 against Detroit this season.

“It’s funny how you do against certain teams,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We haven’t beaten the Yankees—we just got swept by them. We’ve had a lot of close games with Detroit, but fortunately, we keep coming out on top. We don’t have any mojo against them—we know they can beat us at any time.”

The Tigers are now 5-18 since the All-Star break and a season-worst 55 games under .500.

“We keep battling, and after that first inning, we played a pretty good game,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “We could have thrown in the towel, and we didn’t. We just couldn’t get it all the way done.”

Kenny Rogers (9-6) allowed three runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings. He struck out seven. J.C. Romero pitched the eighth and Eddie Guardado worked the ninth for his 27th save in 30 tries.

“That first inning was nice,” Rogers said. “Any time you get something like that, it is a plus. It gives you a chance to go out there and have time to find your groove.”

Mohr made a sliding catch of Craig Monroe’s blooper in right field for the second out in the ninth to helped preserve the win.

“It was a lot of fun to make that catch,” he said. “Usually on a play like that, you have trouble calling off the first and second basemen, but I got the words out and they backed off. I knew I had the best angle on the play.”

Nate Cornejo (5-11) lost his third straight start. He pitched his first complete game since April 27, 2002, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks.

“I gave up four runs in the first inning, which makes it tough on the rest of the team,” he said. “After that, I just had to keep us in the game so the offense would have a chance.”

Minnesota scored four times in the first, two before the first out.

Shannon Stewart led off with a single and Denny Hocking walked before Doug Mientkiewicz bunted safely to load the bases.

Koskie lined a two-run double into the right-field corner, and after Cornejo retired the next two batters and intentionally walked A.J. Pierzynski to load the bases, Mohr grounded a two-run single into left field.

Detroit made it 4-2 in the fifth when Matt Walbeck homered over the shortened fence in left field—his first major league homer since July 29, 2000—and Monroe made it a one-run game with a solo homer in the sixth.

Cornejo, meanwhile, settled down, and retired 15 straight batters between the second and seventh innings.

“After that first inning, Nate pitched one heck of a game,” Trammell said. “He’s had some rough outings, and it says a lot about the way he stood up for us out there after that start.”

The Twins put two runners on in the eighth, but Cornejo got Mohr to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Ben Petrick robbed Chris Gomez of a homer in the ninth, leaping to grab the ball well above the fence in left field.

“I know I can make plays like that, but it has never seemed to work outuntil today,” he said. “I just wish we could have turned it into a win.”

Notes

Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson and bench coach Kirk Gibson were ejected by home-plate umpire Doug Eddings in the bottom of the first. After popping out, Higginson angrily threw his bat and yelled from the dugout and was thrown out. Gibson was ejected for arguing the decision from the dugout. … The Tigers held a press conference before the game to announce they had signed first-round draft pick RHP Kyle Sleeth. … Minnesota batted around in the final inning of Saturday’s game and the first inning of Sunday’s. … Cornejo’sonly two complete games have come against Minnesota.

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