MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Miguel Cabrera's two-run, one-out homer in the ninth inning lifted Detroit to a 4-3 victory over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon, as the Tigers finished a three-game sweep of the Twins in style after leaving 10 men on base earlier in the game.
Cabrera crushed a 0-2 pitch to center field from Matt Capps (0-3), who took his first blown save in 10 tries. Rookie Quintin Berry started the inning with a single.
Jose Valverde followed for his ninth save in 11 attempts. Denard Span led off with a single. After Ben Revere popped his bunt up for the first out, Joe Mauer hit a hard line out to left. Then after Span stole second, Josh Willingham walked. But Justin Morneau flied out to right.
Brayan Villarreal (1-1) recorded two outs in the eighth for the victory.
Prince Fielder had two more hits and went 9 for 12 in the series plus two walks for the Tigers, who have won 21 of their last 27 games against the Twins. After a ray-of-hope four-game winning streak on the road that included a two-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit, the Twins have lost five in a row.
Alexi Casilla went 3 for 3 for the Twins, including an RBI single against Rick Porcello in the fourth. Mauer had two hits, tying the game at 2 with a double in the fifth. Willingham singled him in to give the Twins the lead.
P.J. Walters gave up seven hits and four walks, both highs over four appearances since being brought up from Triple-A less than three weeks ago. But he finished six innings with only two first-inning runs allowed and struck out four.
Coming off his first career complete game, a 9-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, Walters wasn't as good this time. But he was just as gritty. The 27-year-old right-hander got a double-play grounder by Don Kelly to end the fourth with the bases loaded. He struck out Brennan Boesch to finish the fifth with the bases full. Then he escaped the sixth on a double-play groundout by Ryan Raburn after a walk and a single to start the frame.
Walters has completed six innings and allowed either two or three runs in each of his four starts. Jared Burton retired Boesch on a hard bouncer back to the mound to end the seventh with two runners on. Glen Perkins struck out two in the eighth.
But Capps couldn't finish against the Tigers, who left eight in scoring position.
They did a lot wrong, including in the first when Cabrera was out after his RBI single because he was too casual about returning to the base after he rounded it. Casilla sneaked behind him to catch the quick throw and slap the tag on the burly slugger. The Tigers still, however, wrangled out a win. That's an encouraging sign for a team widely picked to run away with the division but which has been struggling to find a rhythm.
Porcello lasted six innings, allowing nine hits, three runs and three walks with only one strikeout. He hasn't won in four starts, but this was a much better performance. He took a sharp drive by Mauer off his leg but managed to stay on his feet and throw for the out before hobbling around in pain in the third.
NOTES: Berry, who made his major league debut earlier this week when CF Austin Jackson strained an abdominal muscle, has at least one hit in each of his five games. He's 8 for 21. ... Twins RHP Nick Blackburn (strained left quadriceps) is eligible to come off the DL on Friday but will make two rehab starts for Triple-A Rochester, the first on Tuesday. ''If he throws a no-hitter, he's still going to start'' on Sunday, manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... The Twins start a three-game series with Oakland on Monday in a holiday matinee. LH Scott Diamond (3-1, 1.78 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins, and LH Travis Blackley (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the season for the A's. ... The Twins had two moving moments on the field before the game. Mauer hosted an 8-year-old boy named Grant with leukemia as part of the Make-A-Wish program, competing with him in the video game ''MLB 11: The Show'' with the action shown on the scoreboard above left field. Then Robert Buresh, a Minnesota Air National Guard master sergeant just returned from Afghanistan, surprised his daughters in front of home plate as they ran around the bases in a promotional contest.
- Joe Mauer
- Miguel Cabrera