Minneapolis, MN – Prince Fielder blasted a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Detroit Tigers moved closer to clinching the AL Central title with a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in the rubber match of a three-game series at Target Field.
The Tigers' magic number for securing the division title is down to one after the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Chicago White Sox, 6-2, on Sunday.
Fielder's 30th home run of the season, an opposite-field shot to left, was given up by Minnesota reliever Jared Burton (3-2) with two outs. Burton, who replaced starter Liam Hendriks prior to the inning, had retired two batters in a row after allowing a leadoff single to Austin Jackson.
"I'm just glad I was able to help my team," Fielder said.
Octavio Dotel pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth, getting Pedro Florimon to fly out to left field with men on the corners. Jose Valverde then pitched the ninth for his 34th save.
Anibal Sanchez started for Detroit and gave up one run on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. Phil Coke (2-3) picked up the win in relief.
Florimon singled home the Twins' lone run in the seventh. Minnesota loaded the bases later in the inning, but Justin Morneau grounded out to second.
"It is a tough loss, but it was a good game and Prince had a big hit for them," Twins shortstop Jamey Carroll said.
Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-3 and remains stuck on 199 hits ... Joe Mauer had three of Minnesota's 10 hits ... Hendriks scattered five hits over seven frames ... The Twins were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base ... Minnesota finished with a 31-50 home record.