Tigers blow chances with 10-4, 2-1 loss to Twins

By Larry Lage

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 8:25 p.m. MDT

Minnesota Twins pitcher Esmerling Vasquez, left, embraces teammate Eduardo Escobar after Escobar scores during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012.

Carlos Osorio, Associated Press

DETROIT — Jamey Carroll hit an RBI single in the 10th inning and the Minnesota Twins beat Detroit 2-1 Sunday, winning both games of a doubleheader to prevent the Tigers from at least tying the Chicago White Sox atop the AL Central.

Chicago still has a one-game lead in the division despite extending its losing streak to five with a 4-1 loss earlier in the day against the Los Angeles Angels.

Detroit closer Jose Valverde (3-4) allowed pinch-hitter Denard Span to lead off the extra inning with a single and gave up a one-out, fall-behind single to Carroll.

Jared Burton (2-1) entered in the ninth and got Miguel Cabrera to pop out, quieting an "M-V-P!" chant from fans standing in the stands and struck out Prince Fielder. First baseman Justin Morneau was charged with an error for dropping a fly in foul territory, but Delmon Young couldn't take advantage and grounded out to end the inning. Glen Perkins pitched a perfect 10th for his 14th save in 17 chances.

Joe Mauer drove in four runs to help the Twins rally against Max Scherzer and pull away for a 10-4 win in the first game.

Detroit got off to a good start in the nightcap.

Cabrera caught a low liner off Morneau's bat to get the third out of the first inning and strand two runners.

The AL MVP and Triple Crown candidate hit his second double of the day and his 40th of the season in the home half, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead and putting him in company with Hank Greenberg as the only players in franchise history to have at least 40 doubles and 40 homers in a season.

Detroit's dubious defense let the Twins tie it in the fifth inning.

Starting pitcher Drew Smyly fielded a sacrifice bunt with two on and despite having plenty of time, he sailed a throw up the right-field line that pulled second baseman Ramon Santiago off first and loaded the bases.

The Tigers had a chance to escape the fifth inning without giving up a run, but catcher Alex Avila made a wild throw toward first on what would've been an inning-ending double play — in part because Matt Carson slid into him aggressively — and Pedro Florimon scored. The Twins, though, ran themselves out of the inning on the same play when Ben Revere got caught too far away from third base and was tagged out.

Both teams blew chances to break the 1-all tie in the sixth.

The Twins had two on and one out, but Al Alburquerque got out of the jam by striking out Ryan Doumit and Morneau.

Detroit also had two on and no out in the home half, but Demon Young made the crowd groan by grounding into an inning-ending double play.

Tigers starter Drew Smyly gave up an unearned run, three hits and two walks in 4 1-3 innings. Alburquerque pitched 2 2-3 innings of scoreless relief. Joaquin Benoit struck out two in two perfect innings.

Twins starter P.J. Walters allowed a run on five hits and a walk over six innings. Brian Duensing and Burton combined to pitch three innings of scoreless relief.

At the start of the doubleheader, Scherzer (6-7) was back on the mound after leaving his previous start after two innings with shoulder fatigue.

The right-hander couldn't get his normally high-90s fastball past 93, but was good enough to hold Minnesota scoreless for five innings only to be let down by his team's shoddy defense.

"He's still got great stuff, even if he wasn't throwing 97," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's got the great change, a great breaking ball and everything is moving all over the place. We really had to be patient with him."

Despite the diminished velocity, Scherzer insisted he isn't worried about making his final two starts, including game 162.

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