Minneapolis, MN – A trio of fourth inning home runs inched Detroit one win closer to a division crown as the Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, in the second of a three-game set from Target Field.
Victor Martinez led off the decisive frame with a solo shot down the line in left field. Omar Infante followed with a blast of his own to left and with two outs and Ramon Santiago occupying first, Austin Jackson cracked a two-run shot to center for a 4-1 edge.
Scott Diamond (6-12) surrendered all four runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings of work to absorb the loss.
"Everything kind of just comes in clumps for me," Diamond said.
Doug Fister (14-9) took the win after holding Minnesota to two runs while striking out seven over 6 1/3 frames. Jackson and Torii Hunter each had three hits for the Tigers, who clinched a playoff berth with the victory.
"We're not celebrating because we haven't done what we want to do," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Detroit could have wrapped up the AL Central with a win and an Indians' loss, but Cleveland beat Chicago on a Jason Giambi two-run homer in the ninth inning. The Tigers' magic number to win the division is at one with four games remaining on their schedule.
Chris Parmelee singled home a run in the third inning, spotting the Twins an early 1-0 lead before Detroit's power surge tilted things in the Tigers' favor.
Ryan Doumit started the Twins' seventh with his 14th home run of the year, a no-doubter to left field off Fister. Parmelee and Eduardo Escobar then singled, but Drew Smyly and Al Alburquerque each retired a batter to hold Detroit's 4-2 lead.
Bruce Rondon and Joaquin Benoit each struck out the side in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, with the latter earning his 23rd save of the year.
Detroit improved to 10-8 against Minnesota this season ... Rondon, who hadn't pitched since Sept. 2 with elbow soreness, hit 100 m.p.h. on the radar ... The Twins fell to 4-15 at home since Aug. 16 ... Minnesota hit just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position... Both teams left seven men on base ... American League Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer will face Kevin Correia in the rubber match on Wednesday.