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Twins 5, Tigers 3

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins only had four hits Saturday against the Detroit Tigers. Starting pitcher Phil Hughes made sure they didn't need any more.

The Twins took advantage of a wild Tiger bullpen, which walked five Minnesota hitters in the fifth inning, in a 5-3 victory over Detroit at sunny Target Field.

Hughes gave up two hits and two runs in the first inning, staking the Tigers to a 2-0 lead.

Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez appeared to be on his game early, but was forced to give way to the bullpen in the third inning because of a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

In the fifth, the Twins, still without a hit, took advantage.

Tigers reliever Jose Ortega walked the first two men he faced before Minnesota pushed their first run across on a throwing error by catcher Bryan Holaday. On a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Eduardo Escobar, Holaday's throw to third sailed into left field, allowing right fielder Sam Fuld to score.

Another walk loaded the bases and Ortega was lifted for Phil Coke, who walked first baseman Joe Mauer on four pitches, tying the game, 2-2.

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, ripped a 3-and-1 pitch up the middle for a two-run single, Minnesota's first hit of the day, giving the Twins a 4-2 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

After the rocky first inning, Hughes (2-1) was on cruise control, retiring 16 straight batters through the middle innings in his most effective start to date. He allowed two runs, one earned, over seven innings, striking out six and walking none in his second straight quality start.

After being called up from Triple-A Toledo earlier in the day, Ortega took the loss. He was charged with all four runs in the fifth, and threw only 11 of his 36 pitches for strikes over 1 1/3 innings.

Twins catcher Josmil Pinto crushed a solo home run, his fifth of the season, in the bottom of the eighth to add an extra insurance run for closer Glen Perkins, who surrendered a solo shot to designated hitter Victor Martinez in the top of the ninth.

Perkins also allowed a double, but worked out of the jam for his sixth save in seven chances this season.

NOTES: The Twins entered the day with a major league-leading 113 walks. They drew eight more on Saturday. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning and later left because of a left triceps contusion. He is considered day-to-day. ... Tigers catcher Alex Avila, who left the game Friday because of a shin contusion, pinch hit in the eighth inning and drew a walk. He stayed in the game behind the plate in the bottom half of the inning. ... Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter had his second three-hit game of the season and has five consecutive multi-hit games against the Twins.

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