Tigers bullpen falters in loss to Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Sluggish throughout a homestand opener against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins never needed their bullpen more.

Matt Guerrier(notes), Randy Flores(notes), Jesse Crain(notes) and Matt Capps(notes) came through in a huge way for the Twins, showing perhaps the biggest reason they hold such a big lead over the Tigers with one month to play.

Delmon Young(notes) had two hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh against Detroit’s bumbling bullpen, to lift the Twins to a 4-3 victory over the Tigers.

Guerrier (3-7), Flores, Crain and Capps combined to allow one hit over 2 1-3 innings as the Twins scratched their way back from a 3-0 deficit.

“We all try to build off each other,” Crain said. “Everyone out there, we’ve all been in hold situations, save situations. So we feel anytime we go out there we treat it the same way, as if it’s the ninth inning.”

Young’s big hit came after Tigers reliever Phil Coke(notes) (7-4) hit two batters to load the bases and Ryan Perry(notes) walked in the tying run.

Danny Valencia(notes) had three hits and an RBI and Brian Duensing(notes) gave up three unearned runs on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Twins, who stayed four games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

The Twins committed two errors that led to all three Tigers runs, had a runner thrown out at home by 30 feet to end a rally and had injuries to Jason Kubel(notes), Brian Fuentes(notes) and possibly Orlando Hudson(notes).

“Ugly game,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Kubel was hit on the left hand by Coke in the seventh. He was taken for X-rays, which showed no break. Fuentes’s back locked up on him while warming in the bullpen and both players could miss a few days. Hudson has been battling an injured foot and Gardenhire said he would be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

The Twins said they planned to recall infielder Trevor Plouffe(notes) and catcher Jose Morales(notes) on Wednesday for reinforcements.

Jhonny Peralta(notes) had three hits and an RBI for the Tigers, but struck out with the tying run at third base to end the game. Armando Galarraga(notes) gave up two runs on eight hits in six innings and left with a 3-2 lead before the Tigers bullpen faltered.

“Two walks, two hit batsmen in a one-run game against a good team, or any team, that just can’t happen,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

The lefty Coke started the seventh inning and walked J.J. Hardy(notes). Denard Span(notes) bunted him over and then Coke hit lefties Joe Mauer(notes) and Jason Kubel to load the bases. Manager Jim Leyland went to the righty Perry against Michael Cuddyer(notes), who walked on four pitches to tie the game.

“I wasn’t able to put it in the zone when I needed it,” said Perry, whose Tigers fell 11 games behind Minnesota.

Young followed with a sharp single to right field for the lead, but the inning ended when Kubel was thrown out at home plate.

Duensing dropped his ERA to 2.04, giving up three unearned runs.

Hardy’s throwing error in the first inning led to two unearned runs for the Tigers on singles by Peralta and Brandon Inge(notes). Hudson then short-hopped a throw to Cuddyer at first base in the second inning, allowing Casper Wells(notes) to come around and score for a 3-0 lead.

Cuddyer certainly wasn’t at fault for not scooping the throw, but it’s a play that Justin Morneau(notes), a natural first baseman, has made regularly over the years. But the All-Star first baseman has been out since the first week of July with a concussion, and he doesn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon.

Doctors told the former AL MVP to stay home until Friday at least. Manager Ron Gardenhire said it was not a set back, but there is no denying that Morneau isn’t much closer to returning than he was when he started taking swings at Target Field a few weeks ago.

The Twins also were without Jim Thome(notes), who was given another day off to rest his stiff back. He is listed as day-to-day.

“We didn’t play very well for about six or seven innings,” Gardenhire said. “Nothing was happening good for us. We didn’t play good defense. We didn’t hit much. We stayed after the game and it got exciting there as we went along.”

NOTES: The Tigers said they will call up RHP Robbie Weinhardt(notes) on Wednesday when rosters expand. Weinhardt was 1-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 23 games at Triple-A Toledo. It will be his second callup of the season. … With Thome on the bench, LF Young was given his first DH day of the season. Jason Repko(notes) played in LF and made an excellent leaping catch at the wall to take a hit away from Alex Avila(notes) in the sixth inning. … Twins INF Nick Punto(notes) (hamstring) did some light running on Tuesday and said he planned to ramp up his workouts as the week progressed.

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