Inge lifts Tigers over Twins 11-10 in 13 innings

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DETROIT (AP)—Brandon Inge(notes) singled home the winning run in the 13th inning and the Detroit Tigers beat Minnesota 11-10 on Saturday night, damaging the Twins’ chances of earning home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

The AL Central champions fell a game behind Tampa Bay in the race for the best record in the American League. The Rays, with a soft schedule the rest of the way, lead the AL East by 1 1/2 games over the New York Yankees.

Johnny Damon(notes) and Miguel Cabrera(notes) opened the 13th with singles off Pat Neshak (0-1). Jhonny Peralta(notes) followed with a grounder to third that was misplayed by Danny Valencia(notes) for an error, loading the bases.

Randy Flores(notes), the game’s 16th pitcher, replaced Neshak and got Brennan Boesch(notes) to ground into a 1-4-2 putout at the plate. Inge then lined a clean single to right, ending the game after 4 hours, 19 minutes.

Daniel Schlereth(notes) (1-0) earned his first AL win after pitching out of jams in the 12th and 13th innings.

In addition to Justin Morneau(notes) (concussion) and Joe Mauer(notes) (knee), Minnesota played without manager Ron Gardenhire in the dugout. Gardenhire was hit in the right ear by a thrown ball during batting practice, and although he was not seriously injured, he spent the game in the clubhouse.

Both starters, Detroit’s Jeremy Bonderman(notes) and Minnesota’s Carl Pavano(notes), allowed seven runs in four innings, including three homers each.

The Twins scored five runs before Bonderman got his second out, but that wasn’t going to be nearly enough on a night dominated by power hitters.

After Jason Kubel(notes) provided the game’s first run with an RBI single, Valencia cleared the left-field bullpens with his second career grand slam.

Detroit got a run in the first on Peralta’s RBI single and another in the second when Austin Jackson’s(notes) base hit brought home Alex Avila(notes).

After a scoreless third, the Tigers went up 7-5 with five runs in the fourth, including three homers. Avila started the run with a solo shot, followed by two-run drives from Don Kelly(notes) and Cabrera.

Minnesota quickly tied the game. Kubel and Valencia opened the fifth with homers, chasing Bonderman from what could have been his last home start with the Tigers.

Eddie Bonine(notes) didn’t fare much better in relief, allowing the Twins to score three more times in the fifth to take a 10-7 lead.

Glen Perkins(notes) replaced Pavano for the fifth and became the fourth straight pitcher to struggle. He got only two outs before being pulled after allowing sacrifice flies to Jackson and Ryan Raburn(notes).

Raburn’s RBI single tied it at 10 in the seventh.

The Twins got a runner to third in the 12th, but Schlereth struck out Jose Morales(notes) to end the inning. Schlereth then pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 13th.

NOTES: Jason Repko(notes) left the game after being hit in the right thumb by a pitch from Bonine. X-rays were negative and Repko is day to day. … Inge struck out three times, giving him 1,101 in his career, breaking Lou Whitaker’s franchise record of 1,099. Inge, a free agent after the season, has played more than 1,000 fewer games than Whitaker. … Both benches were warned after Perkins hit Inge with a pitch to start the fifth inning—the third hit batter of the game.

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