MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JULY 23: Joe Mauer #7 and Joe Nathan #36 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate a win against the Detroit Tigers on July 23, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 4-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Tigers At Twins: Minnesota Loses To Detroit, 5-2, To Drop Seven Back

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Liriano Awful In Twins' 5-2 Loss To Detroit

The Minnesota Twins needed to win on Sunday afternoon at Target Field to move back to within five games of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central standings. Unfortunately, "bad" Francisco Liriano took the hill for Minnesota, and dug the Twins into a hole that they could not get themselves out of, resulting in a 5-2 loss that drops them seven games back.

Liriano (6-8, 4.82 ERA) got through the first inning with relatively few issues, but control problems cropped up in the top of the second inning. After Jhonny Peralta struck out to start the inning, Ryan Raburn drew a walk, and moved to second on a wild pitch by Liriano. After a strikeout by Wilson Betemit, Ramon Santiago reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners with two out. With Austin Jackson at the plate, Liriano uncorked his second wild pitch of the inning to allow Raburn to score and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Liriano proceeded to walk Jackson. . .his third walk in two innings. . .before getting Brandon Boesch to fly out to end the inning.

It got no better in the top of the third, as Liriano walked Magglio Ordonez to start the inning. After a strikeout of Miguel Cabrera, Liriano gave up four consecutive singles to Victor Martinez, Peralta, Raburn, and Betemit. Two runs were the result, and the Twins trailed 3-0. Anthony Swarzak came in to relieve Liriano, who was lifted after just 2.1 innings of work that took him 78 pitches to get through. The Tigers got another run on a fielder's choice by Santiago to make the score 4-0, but Swarzak got out of the inning with no further damage being done.

The Twins got a couple of runs back in the bottom of the fourth when Michael Cuddyer led off the inning with a walk. After a strikeout by Jason Kubel, Danny Valencia doubled to left to put runners on second and third. Jim Thome's groundout scored Cuddyer to make the score 4-1, and Delmon Young followed that up with a double to left to score Valencia and cut the deficit to 4-2.

That's all the offense the Twins would be able to manage off of Detroit starter Rick Porcello (10-6, 4.67 ERA). Porcello held the Twins to just those two runs on five hits in six innings of work, and the Twins managed just two more hits the rest of the way. Detroit added an insurance run in the top of the sixth courtesy of another wild pitch, this one by Swarzak, that allowed Jackson to score and give us the final score of 5-2.

The Twins fall to 3-5 in their two series against the teams that were the AL Central co-leaders at the start of the week, and now sit seven games out of first place in the American League Central standings with 61 games remaining in the season.

Minnesota now leaves the friendly confines of Target Field for a ten-game road trip, starting with a four-game series in Arlington against the red-hot Texas Rangers. The first game of the series is on Monday night, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM Central time. The pitching match-up will see right-hander Nick Blackburn (7-6, 3.87 ERA) take the hill for the Twins, while the Rangers counter with left-hander Derek Holland (8-4, 4.65 ERA).

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Baker, Twins Get First Victory Over Detroit, 4-1

The Minnesota Twins snapped their eleven-game losing streak to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Target Field, as Scott Baker (8-5, 2.88 ERA) returned from the disabled list and led the Twins to a 4-1 victory over the Tigers. It was their first victory over the Tigers in eight tries this season, and snapped a losing streak that stretched back to last season.

The Twins got on the board early against Detroit starter Brad Penny (7-7, 4.51 ERA), taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Michael Cuddyer's two-out single to left field brought home Ben Revere with the game's first run. Minnesota added to that lead in the bottom of the second, when Danny Valencia took Penny deep to left field for a solo home run to start the inning, increasing Minnesota's lead to 2-0.

Minnesota added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, when Jason Kubel led off the inning with a single, and moved to second on a wild pitch by Penny. After Valencia drew a walk, Delmon Young ripped a double to left field, bringing both Kubel and Valencia in to score to make the score 4-0.

Baker cruised through his five innings of work, shutting out the Tigers and allowing only three hits and striking out five in his return from the DL. Anthony Swarzak came in to relieve Baker to start the top of the sixth, and allowed the lone Detroit run when Miguel Cabrera's two-out double to right scored Brandon Boesch to make the score 4-1. That would be all the offense Detroit could muster on the afternoon, however, as Phil Dumatrait pitched a scoreless seventh, Glen Perkins kept the Tigers off the board in the eighth, and Joe Nathan closed things out to pick up his seventh save of the season.

With the win, the Twins are back to within six games of the Tigers in the AL Central standings. The Tigers find themselves one game ahead of the Cleveland Indians and 4.5 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox.

Minnesota and Detroit will finish their four-game set on Sunday afternoon at Target Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time. The Tigers will give the baseball to right-hander Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.76 ERA), while the Twins will turn to left-hander Francisco Liriano (6-7, 4.56 ERA).

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Twins Fall To Detroit Once Again, 8-2

If the Minnesota Twins are going to come all the way back in the American League Central this season, it would be helpful for them to defeat the Detroit Tigers at least once. They were unable to accomplish that feat on Friday night at Target Field, falling to the Tigers by a final score of 8-2.

The loss is the seventh straight by the Twins to the Tigers this season, and the eleventh straight time the Twins have gone down against Detroit dating back to last season. Beacuse of the loss, the Twins once again fall to seven games below .500 and seven games back in the American League Central standings.

The Tigers got off to a quick start against Twins starter Brian Duensing (7-8, 4.53 ERA), as Ryan Raburn took homered to left with one out in the top of the first, a solo home run that put the Tigers up 1-0. The long ball also haunted Duensing in the top of the second inning, as Jhonny Peralta hit a solo home run of his own to increase Detroit's lead to 2-0.

The Twins got one back in the bottom of the second, as Danny Valencia's RBI groundout scored Michael Cuddyer to cut the Detroit lead in half at 2-1. Unfortunately, the Tigers didn't take long to respond, as they loaded the bases with two out, and Peralta came through again, this time with a single to center field to score two runs and increase the Detroit lead to 4-1.

The Tigers finally chased Duensing in the top of the fifth, when Peralta again came through with two outs by smashing a double to left field to score Magglio Ordonez and give the Tigers a 5-1 lead. Alex Burnett came in to relieve Duensing, and gave up a two-run single to Carlos Guillen to make the score 7-1. All of the runs were charged to Duensing, who finished the game allowing seven runs (all earned) on nine hits in just 4.2 innings of work. Detroit managed one more run in the top of the sixth, thanks to an RBI single by Victor Martinez that made the score 8-1.

On the Detroit side, meanwhile, Max Scherzer (11-5, 4.35 ERA) was cruising, allowing only one run on four hits in seven innings of work. Minnesota managed to scratch out a run against Detroit reliever Lester Oliveros in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to a Jim Thome RBI single, but it wasn't enough as the Twins wound up falling by a score of 8-2.

The Twins and Tigers will play an afternoon game on Saturday to continue this series, with first pitch scheduled for 3:10 PM Central time from Target Field. The starting pitchers will be right-hander Scott Baker (7-5, 3.01 ERA), returning from the disabled list, for Minnesota, and right-hander Brad Penny (7-6, 4.47 ERA) for Detroit.

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Twins Have No Answer For Verlander In 6-2 Loss

The bad news for the Minnesota Twins is that they lost to the Detroit Tigers for the sixth time this year on Thursday night at Target Field.

The good news for the Minnesota Twins is that they won't see Justin Verlander again in this series.

Verlander (13-5, 2.24 ERA) dominated the Twins over eight innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out nine and leading the Tigers to a 6-2 victory over Minnesota. The loss for Minnesota dropped them six games behind the Tigers in the American League Central standings, while the Tigers pulled half a game ahead of the idle Cleveland Indians for the division lead.

The game was scoreless through the first three innings of play, but the Tigers drew first blood against Twins' starter Carl Pavano (6-7, 4.24 ERA) in the top of the fourth. Pavano started the inning by hitting Brandon Boesch with a pitch, and Boesch moved to second on a ground out by Magglio Ordonez. After a walk to Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez singled to right to load the bases, and Jhonny Peralta followed with another single to right to plate Boesch and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Things could have gotten worse, but Pavano stabbed a ground ball by Carlos Guillen and started a nice 1-6-3 double play to get out of trouble.

Things only got worse from there for Pavano, however. Newly acquired Wilson Betemit singled to left with one out in the top of the fifth, and after getting the second out via strikeout, Pavano served up a two-run homer to Boesch to make the score 3-0. The Tigers got two more in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Peralta and a sacrifice fly by Guillen.

The Twins answered back in the bottom of the sixth, however. After two quick outs, Alexi Casilla and Joe Mauer put together consecutive singles to put runners on first and second, and Michael Cuddyer brought Casilla home with a single to cut the lead to 5-1. Chuck James came in to relieve Pavano and, after pitching a scoreless seventh inning, gave up a solo home run to Peralta to lead off the eighth, making the score 6-1.

Verlander was apparently bored at that point, so the Tigers brought Phil Coke in to pitch the ninth inning. The Twins managed to scratch out one run in the bottom of the ninth on an error by Betemit at third, but it wasn't nearly enough as Delmon Young grounded out to Coke to end the game.

Pavano's final line had him allowing five runs on nine hits in six innings of work while taking the loss, only his second defeat in his last nine starts.

The second game of the series will take place on Friday night at Target Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. The Tigers will send right-hander Max Scherzer (10-5, 4.53 ERA) to the hill, while the Twins will go with left-hander Brian Duensing (7-7, 4.14 ERA).

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