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Tigers 4, Twins 2

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Detroit Tigers clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field.

The Tigers hit three home runs in the fourth inning off Twins starter Scott Diamond to gain the lead. It would be all they needed.

The Tigers collected 11 hits in the game, and their first two hitters, Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter had six of them.

The win put the Tigers in the postseason for the third consecutive year. They can win the American League Central with one more victory in their five remaining games.

Aside from the long balls in the fourth, Diamond held the Tigers at bay. He threw 101 pitches in 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs, nine hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

But Tigers pitcher Doug Fister was better, holding the Twins to two runs in his 6 1/3 innings. Fister threw 109 pitches, giving up eight hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.

The Twins could not get untracked against Fister until the seventh when Ryan Doumit got his second extra-base hit of the game -- a home run into the right field plaza (his 14th homer of the season).

But the Tigers bullpen went to work shortly after Doumit's homer and shut down the Twins the remainder of the way.

Bruce Rondon struck out the side in the eighth and Joaquin Benoit came on in the ninth to pick up his 23rd save.

The Twins escaped from a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the second and then broke open the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Doumit laced a double into the left-center field gap and then scored on Chris Parmelee's single to right.

In the fourth, Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to 11 games, smashing a home run over the left field fence -- his 14th homer of the season. Four pitches later, Omar Infante followed with his 10th homer of the season for a 2-1 Tigers lead.

Diamond was not out of the inning. Ramon Santiago singled and then scored on Austin Jackson's homer into the center field bullpen for a 4-1 lead.

NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire entered the game two wins shy of 1,000 in his career. ,.. The Tigers needed a win and a Cleveland Indians loss to clinch the American League Central championship. ... Detroit's Prince Fielder played in his 501st consecutive game -- the longest active streak in the major leagues. ... The Twins have 84 hits in their previous nine games (since Sept. 15), which is the sixth most in baseball during that period. The team has a 3-6 record during that span. ... The Tigers lead the season series against the Twins 9-8.
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