Tigers 11, Twins 8

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Detroit Tigers weren’t about to relax with a nine-run lead—not with the memory of last season still fresh in their minds.

Ivan Rodriguez had four hits and the Tigers roughed up Brad Radke and hung on to beat Minnesota 11-8 Wednesday night, ending the Twins’ six-game winning streak.

Craig Monroe had three hits and scored three runs, and Alex Sanchez returned to the lineup and drove in three runs. Detroit led 9-0 in the third inning and held on to win.

Only once last season did the Tigers score more than 11 runs. On their way to an AL-record 119 losses, they beat Kansas City 15-6 on Sept. 23.

“Being on the team last year and having as many losses as we did, I find myself never getting comfortable,” Detroit’s Brandon Inge said. “That’s just because in this game, anything can happen.

“I wouldn’t expect it to happen with this ballclub, but at the same time, my guard is up.”

Al Levine (2-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings to get the win in relief. Ugueth Urbina got the final three outs for a save in his first chance with Detroit.

Minnesota, which trailed 11-3, chipped away and cut the lead to three on Shannon Stewart’s solo homer to open the eighth. But Levine and Urbina combined to retire six of the next seven batters.

Radke (2-1), who pitched eight shutout innings against Cleveland in his last start, lasted only two innings in his shortest start in nearly two years.

“I thought I made a few good pitches, but I made some bad ones and they put the ball in play,” Radke said.

Sanchez, sidelined for two games because of strained groin, led off the game with a single and Fernando Vina was hit by a pitch in the foot. Rodriguez and Rondell White followed with RBI singles and Carlos Guillen blooped a two-run single.

The Tigers scored twice more in the second, on Vina’s sacrifice fly and Rodriguez’s RBI single.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire replaced Radke after just 28 pitches, bringing in Carlos Pulido to start the third.

“Six runs is a lot in two innings,” Gardenhire said. “That’s enough. Rather than let him get his brains beat, you go to the bullpen and see what they can do.”

But Pulido wasn’t much better. He immediately gave up three runs in the third, drawing boos, and allowed two more in the fifth.

“I’ve been on the other end of it a few times,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “It’s a good feeling to know we’re capable of doing good things.”

Radke allowed seven hits and six runs, his shortest outing since May 30, 2002, when he was injured after recording just one out against Anaheim.

The last time Radke left so early without being hurt was Aug. 20, 1999, a 1 2-3 inning start against the New York Yankees.

Lew Ford and Jacque Jones had three hits apiece for the Twins.

“We had 27 outs, we were going to use them,” Jones said.

Minnesota could have pulled even closer. The Twins left nine runners on, six of them in scoring position.

Tigers starter Nate Cornejo pitched 4 1-3 innings, giving up eight hits and five runs. After Ford’s two-run triple in the seventh off Gary Knotts brought Minnesota within 11-7, Levine relieved and retired two batters to escapefurther damage.


Minnesota has never come back from a nine-run deficit in its history. … The Twins said CF Torii Hunter would not come off the disabled list on Thursday when he is eligible. He’s been out because of a bad hamstring, and Gardenhire said it stiffened up on him after a workout Wednesday. OF Michael Ryan will likely be sent to Triple-A Rochester when Hunter is ready. … Ford has a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .565 over that span. … The Tigers announced that OF Andres Torres has cleared waivers and had his contract outrighted to Triple-A Toledo. Torres has until Thursday to accept theassignment.

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