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Twins Offense Awakens, But Team Still Loses To Tigers

On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Twins scored more runs than we've been accustomed to seeing during this 2011 season. Unfortunately, they did give up a bunch of runs. . .which we have become accustomed to this season. . .and wound up dropping their third straight game with an 8-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

The Twins once again got on the board first in this one, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on Delmon Young's single that brought Danny Valencia around to score. They added two more in the top of the third inning, with the first coming on Alexi Casilla's sacrifice fly that scored Matt Tolbert, and Justin Morneau followed that up with a solo home run to right field, just his second of this 2011 season, to make the score 3-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, however, things fell apart for Twins' starter Brian Duensing, as the Tigers exploded for six runs. Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn led off the inning with consecutive singles for Detroit, and after a strikeout, Austin Jackson singled to right to score Inge and make the score 3-1. Casper Wells then smacked a ground rule double to left center, plating Raburn to make the score 3-2 and giving the Tigers runners on second and third with one out.

Then, Brandon Boesch grounded one to shortstop Matt Tolbert. Rather than taking the out at first, Tolbert inexplicably attempted to cut down Wells heading to third, and ended up throwing the ball away. Jackson and Wells both scored on the play, giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead. Duensing stayed in long enough to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera, and was then lifted after 4.1 innings pitched.

Anthony Slama then entered the game for Minnesota, and he was greeted by Twins killer Victor Martinez lacing a double to left. Boesch came around to score to make it 5-3 in favor of Detroit, but left fielder Delmon Young gunned down Cabrera at the plate as he attempted to score from first for the second out. Jhonny Peralta then followed that up with another double to score Martinez and make the score 6-3.

To the Twins' credit, they didn't just roll over, getting a run back in the top of the sixth. Justin Morneau led off the inning with a walk, and advanced to third on a single by Michael Cuddyer. Jim Thome then lifted a fly ball deep enough to center field to score Morneau to cut the deficit to 6-4.

Minnesota then took the lead back in the top of the seventh off of Tigers' starter Max Scherzer. Rene Rivera led the inning off with a single, and after Tolbert struck out, Denard Span singled to put runners on first and second with one out. Alexi Casilla's groundout moved both Rivera and Span up 90 feet, and Rivera came home to score on Scherzer's wild pitch to make the score 6-5. Morneau then pounded a Scherzer offering over the right field wall for a home run, his second of the day, to give the Twins a 7-6 lead as Span scored ahead of them.

Jose Mijares made his return in the bottom of the seventh, and looked just like the Mijares of old. . .which means that, yes, the Tigers tied the ball game. Boesch led off the inning with a single, and after moving around the basepaths, scored on Peralta's sacrifice fly to make the score 7-7.

After the Twins did nothing in the top of the eighth, Phil Dumatrait came in for the bottom of the eighth, and the first two Tiger hitters reached base. After a sacrifice bunt by Wells, Boesch lifted a fly ball to right to score Danny Worth with what proved to be the winning run, giving the Tigers an 8-7 lead. The Twins mounted a minor threat in the top of the ninth, getting runners to first and second with one out, but Morneau struck out swinging against Tigers' reliever Joaquin Benoit, and Cuddyer grounded out to end the ball game.

Al Alburquerque got his second victory in two nights for the Tigers, lifting his record for the year to 3-1. Benoit got credit for the save, his second of the year. Dumatrait took the loss for the Twins, and it was his first decision of the 2011 season.

The Twins will attempt to avoid the sweep on Wednesday evening in Detroit, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM. The Twins will send Scott Baker (2-3, 3.65 ERA) to the mound, and the Tigers will go with righty Rick Porcello (4-3, 3.93 ERA).

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.