Detroit, MI – Prince Fielder drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Detroit Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins, 7-6, in the opener of a four-game series at Comerica Park.
With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, Fielder hit an infield single off Jared Burton (0-2), scoring Omar Infante, who singled to begin the frame.
Miguel Cabrera had a two-run home run and drove in three while Fielder drove in two runs for the Tigers, who have won three straight.
Detroit starter Rick Porcello surrendered five runs on 10 hits and a walk in five frames. Joaquin Benoit (1-0) pitched a flawless eighth and Jose Valverde was perfect in the ninth to notch his fifth save.
Josh Willingham had two home runs and four RBI while Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier drove in a run apiece for the Twins, who have lost nine straight games. Starter Scott Diamond gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings.
Cabrera's two-run smash came with one out in the first.
However, in the second, Morneau hit a ground rule double and later scored on a grounder by Dozier.
An inning later, Minnesota scored three runs. Pedro Florimon, Jamey Carroll and Mauer connected on three straight singles, with Mauer plating Florimon. Next was Willingham, who hammered a 1-1 pitch into the stands in left to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.
In the fifth, Avisail Garcia and Infante knocked back-to-back two-out singles and Torii Hunter drew a walk to load the bases. Cabrera's infield single scored Garcia, cutting the deficit to 5-3. Fielder, though, fouled out towards third to end the rally.
Willingham's second home run started the seventh for a 6-3 lead.
The Tigers responded in the bottom half. With Casey Fien pitching for Minnesota, Infante singled to lead off and Cabrera walked. Brian Duensing came in to relieve, but he gave up RBI singles to Fielder and Martinez.
Burton then replaced Duensing, but he allowed a double by Jhonny Peralta, who scored Fielder to tie the game. Burton then hit Matt Tuiasosopo in the foot to load the bases. However, he managed to get Brayan Pena and Andy Dirks to foul out to stop the surge.
Cabrera has six home runs and 13 RBI over the last four games. He also scored his 1,000th career run ... Peralta was 2-for-5. He has hit safely in 30 of his last 35 games and his .323 batting average leads among American League shortstops... The Twins have allowed 51 first-inning runs this season.