Twins 5, Tigers 3
DETROIT (AP)—The Minnesota Twins want to clinch their division as soon as they can.
The Twins are 10 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
“It’s still big for us,” Ford said. “Obviously, it’s not over yet. We want to clinch as soon as possible. We don’t want it to drag on.”
Augie Ojeda also homered for the Twins, who have won six straight and 11 of 13.
Radke (11-7) allowed a run and seven hits in seven innings to improve to 17-6 lifetime against the Tigers. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.
“I felt a little off. The results were there,” Radke said. “But I didn’t have command of my fastball. Had command of my changeup, that’s it.”
Jason Johnson (8-14) allowed four runs—three earned—and 10 hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out two.
“He pitched a good ballgame today, certainly well enough to win,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “He gave us seven innings.”
Ojeda hit a 1-0 pitch from Al Levine with one out in the ninth for his second homer to make it 5-1.
But the Tigers closed within two runs against Roa in the bottom of the inning. Carlos Pena drew a one-out walk, and one out later, Eric Munson also walked. Jason Smith followed with a double to center, scoring Pena and Munson to make it 5-3.
Nathan came in and got Curtis Granderson, in his first big league game, to ground out to end it.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a RBI single by Ford. Torii Hunter reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on Justin Morneau’s single and scored on Ford’s run-scoring single to right.
In the third, Ford homered into the left-field stands with one out to make it 2-0. Cristian Guzman followed with a triple to right-center and Michael Cuddyer walked. Terry Tiffee then hit a chopper to third that Munson fielded cleanly, but threw wildly to first. Two runs scored and Tiffee wound up on third. Tiffee was credited with a single and an RBI, and Munson was charged with an error allowing Cuddyer to score and Tiffee to go to third.
Tiffee was cut down at the plate on the following play when Pat Borders hit a chopper to shortstop Omar Infante, who was playing in. The throw to catcher Ivan Rodriguez beat Tiffee, who then barreled into Rodriguez—but the catcher held on to the ball.
Tiffee left the game with a separated right shoulder, and was replaced in the lineup by Ojeda, who took over at second base. Cuddyer moved to third to take Tiffee’s place defensively.
Tiffee will be out three-to-six weeks.
“I’m sorry for him,” Rodriguez said. “It was a very open play for me. He was out by far.”
Dmitri Young’s two-out run-scoring single in the sixth made it 4-1.
Radke has also only allowed two earned runs in 22 innings in September. … It was Radke’s 315th career start. He’s third in Twins history in that category behind Jim Kaat (422) and Bert Blyleven (345).