Danny Valencia’s single to center scored Michael Cuddyer with the winning run in the 10th frame, as Minnesota downed Detroit, 2-1, at Target Field.
“Great feeling. My first walk-off hit in pro baseball. It was nice to come in a situation like this,” said Valencia. “We are in a pennant race. There are some teams that are right behind us.”
Valencia has hit safely in 23 of 27 games at his new home ballpark, finishing as the only Twin with two hits. Jon Rauch (3-1) picked up the victory with a flawless top of the 10th frame. The Twins have won five of six overall, keeping them four games in front of the White Sox in the American League Central race.
Ryan Perry (2-5) was tagged with the loss, giving up two hits in the 10th. Max Scherzer got a no-decision despite giving up just one run on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk over nine frames.
On the opposite end, Twins starter Francisco Liriano scattered just five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts without allowing a run in seven strong frames.
“It was great pitching performance by both guys. We had opportunities but we had a tough time with that,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
The Twins struck first in the fifth with Delmon Young’s leadoff double. He moved to third on Valencia’s single then Jose Morales skied a fly ball to center. Valencia was doubled off, but Young scored for the 1-0 edge.
Detroit finally got to the Twins staff once Liriano exited after the seventh frame. Austin Jackson singled to start the frame, then after two outs, Miguel Cabrera walked. Jhonny Peralta followed with a single to left to tie the game.
In the 10th, Cuddyer stroked a leadoff single to left, stole second on a close play and raced around to slide in just in front of Jackson’s throw that sailed down the third-base line.
The Twins have won 14 of their last 16 home games…The Tigers have dropped four of five overall and are a woeful 3-15 in Minneapolis since the start of the 2009 campaign…Jackson stroked his 30th double of the season…Young recorded his 37th two-bagger of the season.