Twins 7, Tigers 6

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Minnesota Twins finally beat one of the top three teams in their division on their 11th try. Before they can count as a contender themselves, they have a lot of catching up to do.

Luis Castillo slapped a single past a drawn-in Detroit infield with one out in the ninth inning, lifting the Twins to a 7-6 victory over the Tigers on Saturday.

“It feels good to finally beat that team over there,” said Shannon Stewart, whose RBI triple tied the game against closer Todd Jones (0-1). “They’ve been giving it to us pretty good.”

Have they ever.

Magglio Ordonez homered for the second straight night and Curtis Granderson hit a two-run drive for Detroit, which outscored Minnesota 42-7 while hitting 10 homers and winning their first four meetings.

Jones walked pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez, and Stewart’s big hit scored pinch-runner Nick Punto. Then came Castillo’s contribution.

“This is one of those gut checks,” said Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who called his team’s 9-6 victory on Friday its best of the season. “We’ll find out how we respond.”

Torii Hunter went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Minnesota, which hit into three double plays and is now 1-10 against the White Sox, Tigers and Indians while falling nine games back. Juan Rincon (2-0) picked up the victory with a scoreless ninth after struggling right-hander Jesse Crain struck out the side in the eighth.

“That’s a huge win,” Crain said. “Hopefully that’ll turn some stuff around here.”

Carlos Guillen had two hits and an RBI for Detroit, and the first five hitters in the lineup drove in all six runs. Dmitri Young, activated from the disabled list the day before, led off the seventh with a double in a two-run, tiebreaking inning against reliever Francisco Liriano.

With two out, Brandon Inge singled to drive in Young. Then Ivan Rodriguez hit a line drive to left-center that fell in front of Stewart—whose throw sailed over the cutoff man to a vacant second base where Rodriguez pulled in for a double while Inge scored for a 6-4 lead.

But the bullpen, which has been tough to hit this year, couldn’t hold it. An RBI double by Joe Mauer off Jamie Walker cut Detroit’s lead to one in the seventh.

Joel Zumaya came in to strike out Hunter to end the inning on a fastball that read 98 mph on the stadium radar gun, and Hunter winced and cursed as he headed back to the dugout. Hunter, however, led the pack of Twins who surrounded Castillo two innings later for the celebration.

“I’m just glad it happened to me, to be honest with you,” Jones said, “‘cause I know how to handle it. I can bounce back. It’s not like I’ve never blown a save before. This is where I’ve got to rely on my experience. You’ve just got to pick up the pieces, play ‘Humpty Dumpty’ and see you tomorrow.”

Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman gave up a season-high 10 hits and also allowed three walks and five runs in 6 2-3 innings while striking out three. Minnesota frequently bailed him out of further damage by hitting into all those double plays.

In the first, Tony Batista stranded two runners with a groundout after Hunter’s two-run double. Michael Cuddyer’s double put the Twins up 3-1 in the third, but Batista bounced into a bases-loaded double play to end that inning.

Guillen’s chopper down the third-base line skipped away from Batista and into the bullpen for an RBI double that cut the Minnesota lead to 2-1 in the second.

Ordonez led off the fourth with his eighth homer to again pull the Tigers within one. After hitting at least 29 home runs each season with the Chicago White Sox from 1999-2003, Ordonez stumbled through the next two years while fighting knee and hernia problems—going deep a total of only 17 times in 507 at-bats over the 2004 and 2005 seasons. But he’s worked his way back into form, batting fourth in a lineup that leads the majors with 49 homers.

“He’s doing everything right now,” Leyland said. “When they make a tough pitch, he’s getting a base hit. When they’re making a mistake, he’s hitting a home run.”

Granderson tied the game at 4 with his homer in the fifth, sticking Scott Baker with a no-decision. Baker allowed seven hits in six innings while striking out five without a walk.

“We’ve had some bad luck, and we’ve had some very bad baseball games under our belt,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But we’re not going to quit.”


Chris Shelton went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is 3-for-20 against the Twins. Shelton is also in a 3-for-25 slump overall. … Cuddyer has hit in seven straight games, going 11-for-28 with five doubles, one homer and three RBIs.

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