Twins 5, Tigers 4, 11 innings

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DETROIT (AP)—A steady rain provided the perfect backdrop for Detroit’s depressing season.

Michael Cuddyer hit the first pitch of the 11th inning into the left-field seats and the Minnesota Twins beat Detroit 5-4 on Friday night, putting the Tigers one defeat away from tying the modern-day record for losses.

If Detroit (41-119) loses Saturday or Sunday against the Twins, the Tigers will tie the post-1900 record of 120 losses set by the 1962 New York Mets.

“I don’t want it to happen, but I don’t know what else I can do or they can do right now,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “Honestly, if we do win the next two games, yeah great, but with 119 losses, we’re still going to be talked about. But this week has really been uplifting to watch this effort.”

Lew Ford’s double gave Minnesota a 4-3 lead in the 10th, but the suddenly scrappy Tigers, who had won three straight, tied it in on Shane Halter’s RBI single.

“We’ve had it there all year, but we haven’t played like we should,” Halter said. “It just goes to show you these guys do have some intensity and passion. I just wish we would’ve done it all year, and not just in the last few games. We wouldn’t be in this situation if we had.”

Eddie Guardado (3-5) blew a save in the 10th, but earned the win after Cuddyer’s homer off Franklyn German (2-4). LaTroy Hawkins pitched the 11th for his second save.

The Twins had won a season-high 11 in a row before losing to Detroit in 11 innings Thursday.

When showers started to soak Comerica Park in the 10th inning, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t happy.

“I was sick to my stomach,” Gardenhire said. “I couldn’t believe it. We’ve got the lead and I’ve got Eddie coming in and all of a sudden it starts pouring.”

In the 10th, Justin Morneau drew a two-out walk against Chris Spurling and Ford followed with a drive to the fence in left-center to give Minnesota a 4-3 lead.

But the Tigers came right back and tied it as Dmitri Young hit a leadoff double, pinch-runner Andres Torres stole third and scored on Halter’s single to left. Halter then stole second, but Guardado struck out Warren Morris to end the inning.

Trammell, a star shortstop for Detroit’s 1984 World Series championship team, received an inspirational call from his former manager Sparky Anderson before the game.

“If it happens or not,” Trammell said of the futility record, “he says he knows we’re teaching. When I get that kind of response, it just reassures me.”

The Twins had chances to build leads in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but Nate Cornejo got out of each jam with inning-ending double plays.

Young’s 29th homer, which landed between Comerica Park’s old and new left-field fences, put the Tigers ahead 3-2 in the fifth.

A.J. Pierzynski’s RBI single tied it at 3 in the sixth, but Minnesota failed to take the lead because Cuddyer ended a two-on, one-out threat by hitting into a double play.

Minnesota started eight of its regulars after resting most of them for two games after clinching its second straight AL Central title Tuesday. But by the top of the seventh, most of the everyday players were taken out. Doug Mientkiewicz, who has a sore left wrist, was the only regular rested Friday.

Both starters—Minnesota’s Eric Milton and Cornejo—gave up three runs on eight hits and struck out one.

Milton had one walk and one strikeout over five innings. Milton, who missed most of the year following knee surgery, is expected to come out of the bullpen in the AL division series against the New York Yankees.

Cornejo, winless in his last six starts, walked four over seven innings.

Rick Reed threw two perfect innings against the Tigers, and Kenny Rogers gave up one hit in the eighth.

Young’s RBI single and Carlos Pena’s sacrifice fly gave Detroit a 2-0 lead in the first.

The Twins tied it in the fourth when Corey Koskie and Cuddyer hit RBIsingles.

Notes

Kyle Lohse will start Sunday because Rogers pitched Friday. … Young had his first four-hit game of the season. … An announced crowd of 16,518 attended the game. … Twins third-base coach Al Newman was released from a Chicago hospital and returned to his home Friday, 16 days after he suffered a brain hemorrhage before a game against the White Sox. … Minnesota’s Rob Bowen got his first major league hit in the eighth. … Pierzynski hit hiscareer-high 34th double in the second.

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