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Tigers 8, Tigers 2

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The sun warmed up the Minnesota bats Thursday, as the Twins pounded out two home runs among their 10 hits to defeat the Detroit Tigers, 8-2.

The Twins earned the series win thanks to three solid pitching performances from a rebuilt staff that entered the season with question marks.

For the third straight game, the Tigers jumped to the early lead and the Twins battled back.

Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey, pitching his first game less than a year after Tommy John surgery, surrendered five hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. He was undone by two errors by Joe Mauer and Pedro Florimon that led to two unearned runs.

In the first, Austin Jackson singled down the first-base line. He then stole second, went to third on Mauer's errant throw and scored on Torii Hunter's ground out to short.

In the third, Hunter grounded to Florimon, who made his third low throw of the game to first baseman Justin Morneau. Hunter ended up at second on the error and scored on a Miguel Cabrera single for a 2-0 lead.

The Twins tied it in the bottom of the third on when Mauer singled with two outs and scored on a homer by Josh Willingham, the first round-tripper of the season for a Minnesota batter.

Trevor Plouffe followed suit with a fourth-inning solo shot for 3-2 lead.

Detroit starter Rick Porcello also pitched well, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings, including the two homers.

Twins relievers came up big in the seventh when the Tigers threatened, and bailed Josh Roenicke out of trouble. With one out and the bases loaded and Prince Fielder at the plate, lefty Tyler Robertson recorded a strike out for the second out, the Casey Fien came out to retire Vic Martinez on a pop out.

The Tigers bullpen didn't fare so well, as the Twins tacked on five insurance runs to turn a tight game into a blowout. Rookie Ryan Pressly, making his major league debut, recorded the final three outs.

NOTES: Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski announced that the team signed reliever Jose Valverde to a minor-league contract. Valverde, the team's closer for the past three season, can exercise an out clause if not in the big leagues by May 5. ... The Twins won their first series at home against Detroit since Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2010. Their previous series win over Detroit was Sept. 22-23, at Comerica Park. ... Twins center-fielder Aaron Hicks laced his first major-league hit, a two-run single, during a five-run eighth inning.
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