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Morneau continues hot streak, leads Twins past Tigers

The SportsXchange

DETROIT -- Justin Morneau hasn't let the thought of leaving the Minnesota Twins affect his swing.

The team's long-time first baseman recently cleared waivers amid rumors that he might be dealt to a contender. Morneau has made himself more attractive to potential trade partners with four home runs and 13 RBI in his last 13 games, including a four-hit, four-RBI outburst in the Twins' 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday at Comerica Park.

"If something happens, I'll deal with it, but I don't anticipate a whole lot happening," said Morneau, who had a two-run homer and two-run double. "At this point, there's only 5 1/2 weeks left in the season, so it's something that would be easier to deal with than earlier in the season."

Morneau has been especially effective with the bases loaded this season and had another big hit in that situation, smacking a first-pitch, two-run double off reliever Phil Coke in the fifth to give his club a 5-1 lead. He's 10 for 13 with the bases loaded while driving in 23 runs.

"Just trying to get something I can drive and get one guy in from third," he said. "Those are situations where you have to try to keep it simple and anything more than getting that one guy in is a bonus. Fortunately, I was able to get something up in the zone and I was able to put a good swing on it."

Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey collected his first victory since July 6 as the Twins snapped a four-game losing streak. Pelfrey (5-10), who gave up three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, had a quality start while taking a no-decision against the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 15. He built off that performance.

"I went through maybe a little dead arm period," he said. "The last two times out, I haven't thrown a bullpen (session), just to give myself a little break in-between starts. The last time out, I felt definitely a lot sharper and tonight, I felt even better than the time before."

Glenn Perkins recorded his 29th save but not without plenty of drama. He struck out red-hot Miguel Cabrera with two on for the final out.

Manager Ron Gardenhire nixed the idea of walking Cabrera and pitching to Prince Fielder as the potential winning run.

"We hated the thought of Miggy coming up there, but I don't like the thought any better of Fielder coming up as the go-ahead run," he said. "It's still going to take two swings to beat us."

Fielder homered and drove in two runs for Detroit. Tigers starter Rick Porcello (9-7) had a personal five-game winning streak halted. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings and gave up five runs while losing for the first time since June 30.

"I thought Rick had really good stuff tonight, to be honest with you," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "He might have been trying to force it a little bit, trying to do too much, but I thought he had good stuff. And he certainly didn't do bad. He obviously didn't do great, but he didn't do bad."

The Tigers had several opportunities in the late going but stranded six runners in the final three innings. Twins center fielder and ex-Tiger Clete Thomas helped reliever Jared Burton out of a jam in the eighth by tracking down Andy Dirks' short fly ball with a shoestring catch.

"We fought right to the end," Leyland said. "We had an opportunity, and just didn't get it done. We got beat. And that's OK. That's all part of this business."

NOTES: Minnesota C Joe Mauer, tied for third in the American League with a .324 average entering the night, was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after the game. Mauer, who was hit in the head by an Ike Davis foul tip in a loss to the New York Mets on Monday, was a late scratch after he experienced dizziness during batting practice. OF Chris Colabello was recalled from Triple-A Rochester. ... Coke, who has struggled all season, was demoted to Triple-A Toledo. He was replaced on the roster by LHP Jose Alvarez. ... Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia was also unavailable because of a sore left wrist. That left the Twins with just one position player, Doug Bernier, on the bench. ... Detroit C Alex Avila, who has been on the seven-day disabled list since Aug. 11 with delayed concussive symptoms, took part in batting practice. He could return to action this week.
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