Detroit, MI – Joe Mauer smacked three hits, including a solo homer, to go with three runs scored, while Ryan Doumit lifted the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning as the Minnesota Twins downed the Detroit Tigers, 8-6, in the second of a four-game set.
Josh Willingham added a two-run shot among his two hits, and three RBI for Minnesota, which has won five straight games.
Jeff Gray (5-0) tossed two shutout innings of relief to register the win, while Glen Perkins fired a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his fourth save of the year.
"It seems like we're just going out and playing and not really worrying about the hole that we're in or anything like that," said Perkins. "The more we can win, the better off we'll be as we go along.
Brennan Boesch clobbered a solo shot among his three hits, and tallied three RBI for the Tigers, who have dropped the first two games of this series.
"It's bitter-sweet when you have a good game and your team losses," admitted Boesch. "You don't get to enjoy it as much but you get to build on it the next day."
With the game tied 6-6 after six innings, the Twins went ahead in the seventh.
Back-to-back doubles by Mauer and Willingham off Brayan Villarreal (3-2) to begin the frame put runners on second and third. After Justin Morneau was intentionally walked, Mauer scored on Doumit's sacrifice fly to center two batters later for a 7-6 Minnesota edge.
The Twins added an insurance run in the ninth on Mauer's opposite-field shot, which made it 8-6.
Earlier, Minnesota struck first in the opening frame on Willingham's sacrifice fly, but the Tigers responded by plating three in the second.
Prince Fielder led off with a single, and Alex Avila's base hit two batters later put runners on first and second with one away. Fielder crossed the plate on Ryan Raburn's double, while Boesch's single brought home Avila and Raburn for a 3-1 Tigers advantage.
The Twins, though, regained the lead after pushing across five two-out runs in the third. Ben Revere singled and advanced to third following a balk and wild pitch. Mauer then rolled a grounder to shortstop, but Ramon Santiago bobbled it as Revere crossed the plate.
Willingham followed and belted a two-run shot to left, and after Morneau singled, Trevor Plouffe hammered a two-run blast over the wall in left, giving Minnesota a 6-3 edge.
The Tigers, however, fought back and knotted the contest with a three-run fourth. Boesch whacked a solo homer to center, and after Santiago singled, Austin Jackson walloped a two-run blast into the seats in left-center, making it 6-6.
Minnesota was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base, while Detroit finished 2-for-4 with RISP and stranded three...Willingham's homer was his 18th of the year...The start of the game was delayed by 1 hour and 30 minutes due to rain.