Twins 8, Tigers 4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Terry Tiffee’s jump from the minor leagues to the Twins’ cleanup spot couldn’t have gone any smoother.
Tiffee had a two-run homer and a career-high three RBIs in his first game of the season to lead Minnesota to a 8-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
“That’s the last place I thought I’d be,” Tiffee said of batting fourth in the lineup. “But, I don’t care where I hit I just want to play.”
Jacque Jones also hit a two-run homer for Minnesota, which has won three straight games. Tiffee, called up from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday to fill the injured Justin Morneau’s roster spot, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
“It’s never easy to come up and play well, but it’s easier having done it last year because you know the guys and you know what to expect,” said Tiffee, who had a game-winning two-run double in his major-league debut last year.
“It’s good to see guys come up here ready to play,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s what this organization is all about. That’s what we’ve bragged about for a long time.”
Kyle Lohse (1-1) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings, while striking out six and walking one.
Brandon Inge hit a solo homer for the Tigers, losers of three straight.
“That makes it tough,” Manager Alan Trammell said of his starter’s troubles. “You can look at it, but the percentages say that if you have to take your starter out in the first inning, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose.”
Inge hit his second homer of the season with one out in the first to give Detroit a 1-0 lead, but Minnesota came back with five runs in the bottom of the inning. It was the first time Minnesota has scored in the first inning this season.
“(Bench coach) Steve Liddle told the bat guy to get us some first-inning bats,” Jones joked. “I guess he got us some today.”
Jason Bartlett and Joe Mauer hit consecutive infield singles before Tiffee drove in a run with a single. Torii Hunter followed with a two-run single off Johnson and Jones hit his second homer of the season to make it 5-1.
“I didn’t feel out of sync at all,” Johnson said. “Your explanation is as good as mine.”
Johnson’s shortest outing prior to this was 1 1-3 innings.
“I’ve seen Nolan Ryan get knocked out in the first inning after warming up like he was going to throw a no-hitter,” said Detroit pitching coach Bob Cluck. “It happens.”
Carlos Pena had an RBI single in the second to make it 5-2.
Stewart led off the fourth with a double and scored two outs later on Tiffee’s two-run shot off Ginter to make it 7-2.
Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez was sent back to Detroit on Wednesday morning due to recurring symptoms from a viral infection that has forced him to miss five games. He will undergo tests Thursday.
Twins pitchers combined to strike out 12 batters. … Over the past five seasons, Minnesota is 58-19 against the Tigers. … Lohse improved to 6-1 in 12 career games against Detroit. … Stewart has a hit in all eight games this season. … Johnson won his first start of the year, against Kansas City on April 7 when he allowed five hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings.