Minneapolis, MN – Josh Willingham clubbed a two-run homer and Trevor Plouffe added a solo shot, as the Minnesota Twins earned an 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers at Target Field.
After dropping the season opener, the Twins won the final two games to claim their first series at home against the Tigers since Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2010.
"We know it's a long, long season but it's a good start," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire remarked. "Three good starts in a row is huge for our baseball team."
Clinging to a one-run lead, the Twins busted the game open by posting a five- spot in the eighth against Detroit reliever Brayan Villarreal. All the runs were scored with two outs.
Justin Morneau scored from third base on Chris Parmelee's infield single that deflected off the glove of first baseman Prince Fielder. Pedro Florimon later plated a pair with a bases-loaded double and rookie Aaron Hicks followed with his first major league hit, a two-run single.
Mike Pelfrey (1-0) pitched well in his Twins debut, allowing two unearned runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings. The former Met made his first start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last May.
Willingham and Plouffe both homered off Detroit starter Rick Porcello (0-1), who also tossed 5 1/3 frames.
"That's what good hitters do when you fall behind and you miss with fastballs over the plate," Porcello said of the homers. "That was just a product of two poorly pitched at-bats on my part."
The Tigers benefited from errors in the first and third innings to take a 2-0 lead.
Austin Jackson singled to begin the game, stole second and advanced to third on catcher Joe Mauer's throwing error. He then scored on Torii Hunter's groundout to short.
Pelfrey appeared to be on the verge of a 1-2-3 third when Hunter hit a grounder to short. However, a poor throw by Florimon resulted in a two-base error. Reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera plated Hunter with a single to left field.
The Twins evened the game in the home half of the third. Mauer singled to keep the frame alive and Willingham followed with his first home run of the season, a blast to left-center field.
Plouffe crushed a Porcello pitch to left with one out in the next inning to put Minnesota on top.
Detroit threatened in the seventh as Omar Infante opened the inning with a walk and Jackson doubled against Twins reliever Josh Roenicke. After Hunter went down swinging, Roenicke intentionally walked Cabrera to load the bases.
Tyler Robertson came in from the bullpen and fanned Fielder before Casey Fien retired Victor Martinez on an infield popup.
The Tigers signed former closer Jose Valverde to a minor league contract on Thursday ... Minnesota's Ryan Pressly tossed a scoreless ninth in his major league debut ... The Tigers were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.