Twins 7, Tigers 1
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Minnesota Twins didn’t need a shutout to win. They sure came close to their fourth in a row, though.
On the heels of consecutive shutouts by Twins teammates Brad Radke, Johan Santana and Kyle Lohse, No. 5 starter Terry Mulholland allowed only one run in 5 2-3 innings. Grant Balfour (3-0) pitched 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief for the win.
“I had an opportunity to sit and watch three pretty fine pitching performances,” Mulholland said. “That was an inspiration.”
Guzman drove in four runs, including a tying double in the sixth. He lined a 3-2 pitch from Mike Maroth (5-7) over the left-field fence to finish the rally, as the Twins offense awakened after Maroth retired the first 14 Minnesota hitters to start the game.
Ivan Rodriguez’s homer leading off the sixth put Detroit ahead and ended the Twins’ streak of 32 consecutive scoreless innings. But everything went Minnesota’s way after that.
Maroth compared the turnaround with one in 2003 against Baltimore when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, then lost the game as part of his 21-loss season.
“I had great stuff and great command,” Maroth said. “I threw really well, I’m just disappointed about the outcome.”
Rodriguez, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, made two defensive mistakes that helped the Twins rally.
In the bottom of the sixth, Luis Rivas beat out a bunt with one out, moved to second on Rodriguez’s passed ball and scored easily on Guzman’s double down the left-field line.
Corey Koskie opened the seventh with a walk, stole second and moved to third when Rodriguez’s throw bounced into center field for an error.
The Tigers then gave the Twins another out when second baseman Jason Smith’s throw to complete a potential inning-ending double play pulled first baseman Carlos Pena off the bag. Guzman made the Tigers pay with his homer.
“We didn’t make a couple of plays and it hurt,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.
Mulholland allowed seven hits and struck out seven. Detroit remains the only one of the 30 major league teams the left-hander has not beaten.
After three straight Minnesota shutouts, Mulholland was an unlikely candidate to deliver a fourth.
He started this season in the bullpen but became the Twins’ fifth starter by default when several others struggled in the role. Mulholland’s last shutout came on June 9, 1993. His last complete game was in April 2000.
But Mulholland breezed through five shutout innings, giving up four hits without a walk. Most impressive was that he held down a Tigers offense that hit .341 in its previous 10 games.
But Maroth was even better. He barely needed more than routine plays from his defense to get through the first 4 2-3 innings without a blemish, before Jones singled with two outs in the fifth.
Maroth gave up seven hits and six runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Hunter added an RBI double in the eighth.
Injured Twins outfielders Shannon Stewart (foot) and Michael Ryan (shoulder) will begin rehab assignments Friday at Triple-A Rochester. … Among active pitchers, only Kevin Brown and Al Leiter have beaten all 30 teams. Five—Mulholland, Randy Johnson, Woody Williams, Hideo Nomo and Sterling Hitchcock—have beaten 29 of 30 teams. But Mulholland, despite playing for 10 teams, is the only one of the five whose lone omission is a team he hasn’t played for. … Sanchez was out of the lineup with a sore right hamstring, sustainedWednesday when he fell over first base legging out a bunt. He is day-to-day.