Morneau powers Twins past Tigers
Detroit, MI – Justin Morneau drove in four runs for the Minnesota Twins in a 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three- game set.
Morneau went 4-for-5 and had a two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Twins, who snapped their four-game losing streak.
"It was one of those days where Morneau got us," Tigers catcher Brayan Pena said. "He had a great game."
The Twins won the game despite not having Joe Mauer in the lineup. Minnesota's leader in hits and batting average had dizziness during batting practice and was a late scratch.
Mike Pelfrey (5-10) picked up his first victory since July 6. The right-hander returned to the win column after tossing 6 2/3 innings and surrendering three runs on seven hits.
Prince Fielder had a solo home run and an RBI groundout for the Tigers, who had their winning streak of two games snapped by their Central division foes.
The Tigers started Rick Porcello (9-7), who picked up his first loss since June 30. He only lasted 4 1/3 innings, in which he allowed five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks.
The Twins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning. Chris Herrmann hit a soft infield ground ball and beat Porcello in a foot race to first. A wild pitch by Porcello allowed Herrmann to advance to second before Morneau launched a two-run homer to right field. Trevor Plouffe later plated Wilkin Ramirez from first on a double that was hit down the left-field line.
Fielder crushed a Pelfrey curveball into the right-field seats for his 20th home run of the season during the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead down to two.
Minnesota's Pedro Florimon was walked to start off the fifth inning and Brian Dozier reached first on a grounder that was deflected by Tigers' third baseman Miguel Cabrera on a diving attempt. The two baserunners were moved over on a Herrmann sac bunt.
Phil Coke entered the game in relief of Porcello after the latter walked Josh Willingham to load the bases. Morneau then drove Coke's first pitch into right-center field for a double and plate two runs. Ryan Doumit was intentionally walked before reliever Jeremy Bonderman came in to record two outs and end the inning.
Florimon hit a one-out solo homer to right in the sixth to put the Twins up by a 6-1 score.
Detroit got a run back in the bottom of the sixth. Torii Hunter tripled to right and was brought home two batters later on a Fielder groundout.
The Tigers added another run on three straight hits with two outs in the home half of the seventh to cut Minnesota's lead down to three. Brayan Pena and Jose Iglesias singled before an Austin Jackson base hit drove Pena in from second.
A passed ball allowed Cabrera and Victor Martinez, who both singled, to advance to second and third with one out in the eighth. However, the Twins' Clete Thomas made a diving catch in shallow center field that halted the Tigers' runners before Jared Burton struck out Omar Infante to end the Detroit threat.
Closer Glen Perkins picked up his 29th save of the season after striking out Cabrera with runners on first and second in the ninth.
"It's definitely not how you draw it up, having to face (Cabrera) being the tying run in the ninth," Perkins said. "I liked the challenge."
Pena fouled a ball off his foot before singling in the ninth and was replaced by a pinch-runner ... Morneau's home run is only the second given up by Porcello in six starts since the All-Star break...This was Morneau's first four-hit game this season ... Minnesota recalled pitcher Michael Tonkin from Rochester prior to the game...The Tigers lead the Twins 8-6 in the season series.