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).