Tigers 5, Twins 3
He hit two of Detroit’s three homers in a 5-3 win over the Twins on Friday night, but Dmitri Young was a late scratch with a sore ankle, Ivan Rodriguez tweaked a hip flexor, and Carlos Pena was hit on the left hand by a pitch.
“We are limping in (to the All-Star break),” manager Alan Trammell said. “To win a game like tonight was very important.”
Pena and Rodriguez both stayed in the game, but that wasn’t enough to calm Trammell.
“I’m concerned about some of our players,” Trammell said. “It’s been an incredible week. I think everybody’s looking forward to (the break).”
Carlos Guillen hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Gary Knotts (5-3) held the Twins to two runs over 6 2-3 innings for his first win in five starts. Knotts, 0-2 with an 8.35 ERA in his previous three starts, gave up seven hits and three walks.
“It was a combination of the old ‘At-‘em’ ball, some great defensive plays, and being effectively wild tonight,” said Knotts, who needed 121 pitches.
Rodriguez started Detroit’s first inning with a two-out single off Carlos Silva (8-7), who lost his third straight start. Rondell White followed with a single to set up Guillen’s career-high 13th homer of the season.
“That’s been (Silva’s) problem … he gets two outs and he can’t finish the inning off,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s where they’ve been scoring all their runs.”
Smith, who has hit all three of his homers this season against the Twins, led off the second inning with a solo homer. He added a solo shot with one out in the fourth to make it 5-0. It was the first multihomer game of Smith’s career.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a home-run hitter,” said Smith. “If I hit a home run, it’s usually a mistake.”
Minnesota’s pitchers allowed just one earned run in the previous four games.
Silva has given up 15 homers in his last 11 starts, in which he’s 3-7. He lasted 5 2-3 innings Friday, giving up five earned runs on nine hits and striking out three.
The Twins scratched out a pair of runs off Knotts in the fifth. They loaded the bases on two infield hits and a walk, and Matthew LeCroy scored on a wild pitch. Mauer’s sacrifice fly made it 5-2.
Knotts left with runners at the corners and two out in the seventh, but Jamie Walker got Mauer to fly out to end the threat.
The Twins added a run on a fielder’s choice groundout by LeCroy in eighth.
Tigers OF Alex Sanchez remained with his wife in Miami on Friday as the couple awaits the birth of twins. Sanchez will rejoin the team shortly after the births. … Detroit’s Brandon Inge took batting practice before Friday’s game. Inge, on the 15-day disabled list since June 26, is eligible to be activated Sunday. … The Twins gave away a bobblehead likeness of third-base coach Al Newman. … Minnesota’s Jacque Jones was ejected in the eighth forarguing a called third strike.