Tigers 1, Twins 0

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DETROIT (AP)—Jeremy Bonderman began his All-Star campaign in style Sunday night.

Bonderman beat Scott Baker in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, and Marcus Thames homered with two outs in the eighth inning to send the Detroit Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Bonderman (9-1) allowed six hits in eight innings, striking out seven and walking one. The right-hander is among five AL players on the Internet ballot for the final roster spot on the All-Star team, and voting will take place this week.

“I’m going to go home or either get voted in by the fans,” Bonderman said. “I’m looking forward to whatever happens. I’ll go home and enjoy my family.”

Detroit’s Jim Leyland, who will manage the AL squad, joked that Bonderman cares more than he lets on.

“It looked like he was mad at me for not picking him,” Leyland said. “I hope he got some votes tonight.”

Bonderman could become the sixth Tigers player on the All-Star team. Catcher Ivan Rodriguez, second baseman Placido Polanco and right fielder Magglio Ordonez were elected to start, while shortstop Carlos Guillen and pitcher Justin Verlander also made the squad.

Also on the Internet ballot in the AL are Minnesota’s Pat Neshek, Anaheim’s Kelvim Escobar, Toronto’s Roy Halladay and Boston’s Hideki Okajima.

It certainly sounded as though Bonderman earned Torii Hunter’s vote.

“He was nasty,” the Twins center fielder said. “That boy is some good pitcher. … The Tigers have a great one there. He made the pitches when he needed to.”

Baker (2-3) nearly matched Bonderman, giving up three hits and throwing only 79 pitches for his first complete game in 33 major league starts.

“I did the best I could,” Baker said. “But that’s the way things worked out.”

The right-hander walked one and struck out three.

“Throws a lot of strikes, comes right at you,” Detroit’s Curtis Granderson said. “And not afraid of whose at the plate.”

Thames was the Tigers’ designated hitter while Gary Sheffield served the final game of a two-game suspension for an altercation with plate umpire Greg Gibson on May 31 at Cleveland. In the eighth, Thames lined the first pitch he saw from Baker over the left-field fence for his eighth home run to help Detroit avert a three-game sweep.

“I got a good pitch and drove it out. It was a big win for us,” said Thames, who just missed a homer in the sixth when his high drive down the left-field line was caught at the fence.

Todd Jones pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 24 attempts. Bonderman and Jones combined to retire the final 10 Minnesota batters in a game that lasted 2 hours, 7 minutes.

Twins ace Johan Santana, Hunter and first baseman Justin Morneau were also picked for the AL All-Star squad.

Granderson’s leadoff triple in the fourth and Magglio Ordonez’s one-out single in the seventh were the only hits Baker allowed before Thames’ homer. Granderson was stranded when Baker retired the next three batters. Ordonez was erased on Carlos Guillen’s double-play grounder.

Both teams threatened in the early innings, but were thwarted.

Singles by Hunter and Jason Tyner gave Minnesota runners at first and second with two outs in the second, but Bonderman got Nick Punto to ground out.

Baker retired his first nine batters before Granderson hit his major league-leading 15th triple to right-center. But Polanco struck out swinging, Sean Casey fouled out to third and Ordonez grounded to second.

Granderson robbed Michael Cuddyer of an extra-base hit in the sixth with a diving catch in deep right-center.

“It was slicing away,” Granderson said. “I was lucky enough to get there and grab it before it hit the ground. Knocked the wind out of myself a little bit.”

Morneau followed with a double over Granderson’s head in center, but Hunter ended the inning by grounding out.

The Tigers had runners on first and second with one out in the seventh after Polanco reached on an error and Ordonez singled. Guillen bounced into a double play, ending the threat.


Detroit 3B Brandon Inge returned after missing two games with back spasms. … Morneau was back at 1B for Minnesota. He had served as the DH for three games after returning from a bruised right lung. … Minnesota SS Jason Bartlett was 0-for-4, ending his 11-game hitting streak.

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