box) A day after getting shutout by the first-place Twins, the ..."/> box) A day after getting shutout by the first-place Twins, the ..."/> box) A day after getting shutout by the first-place Twins, the ..."/>

Tigers Comeback from Five Down to Thump Twins

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Minnesota 6, Detroit 11 (box)

A day after getting shutout by the first-place Twins, the Tigers came roaring back from five runs down to even their series. With Max Scherzer on the mound, Detroit had to feel pretty good about their chances heading into last night’s game with Minnesota, especially when Justin Morneau was out of the Twins’ lineup with a back strain.

But Jim Thome put a halt to any warm fuzzy feelings the Tigers may have had in the very first inning when he took Scherzer deep to stake Minnesota to an early 2-0 lead. The first three Tigers reached to start the bottom of the inning, but a timely double play ball induced by Scott Baker kept the Tigers to just one run.

Minnesota built their lead to 6-1 with a run in the third, on Luke Hughes’ first career home run, and three more in the fourth, chasing Scherzer from the game.

The Tigers would answer right back in the bottom half. Brandon Inge lead off with a solo home run to left, his third in three games after going homerless in the season’s first 19 contests. Detroit then loaded the bases with one out and after Johnny Damon drove in a run with a groundball, Magglio Ordonez brought the Tigers within one with a two-run single.

The Tigers caught a break in the seventh when Damon lofted a deep fly ball into the left-centerfield gap. Denard Span was able to run it down and appeared to have made the catch, the ball slipped away from him quickly and was ruled an error. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected, arguing perhaps correctly, that Span had lost the ball in his attempt to transfer it to his throwing hand. Nevertheless, the call stood and the Tigers had runners at second and third with one out.

Pat Neshek entered and loaded the bags with a walk to Ordonez, then hit Miguel Cabrera with a pitch to tie the game. The Twins went back to the ‘pen and called upon Jesse Crain, already the fourth pitcher of the inning. Crain was greeted with a parade of doubles, one each by Brennan Boesch, Inge, and Ryan Raburn, to stake Detroit to an 11-6 lead, one they would not surrender.

Cheers and Jeers (and streaks again) after the jump.

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Cheers for

  • Brad Thomas– The Twins were licking their chops when Thomas entered in the fourth, but Jim Leyland ended up calling Thomas the player of the game. Thomas (1-0) held his former club to two hits over 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, allowing his teammates to pull off the comeback. Thomas earned his first major league win, a full nine years after he made his debut with Minnesota.
  • Brennan Boesch– Boesch had two doubles and knocked in two. He has hit .313 with an .813 OPS in his 16 at bats since replacing Carlos Guillen on the roster.
  • Magglio Ordonez– Maggs was on base four times on three hits and a walk. He now needs just one hit to reach 2000 in his career.
  • Ramon Santiago– Continuing to prove the point I was making yesterday, Santiago contributed another two hits and is now batting .326 on the season. Since Adam Everett went down with a hamstring last week, Santiago has hit .333 as the everyday man and has hit .423 over his last eight games.

Jeers for

  • Max Scherzer– After four strong starts this season, Scherzer didn’t have it against the Twins last night. 3.2 IP, 10 H and 6 ER. That’s a bad day at the office.
  • Scott Baker– Baker was only slightly better than his counterpart, going 4 IP allowing 9 hits and 5 earned runs. He was staked to a 6-1 lead and couldn’t hold on. Of course his bullpen didn’t help, which brings me to….
  • Twins Bullpen– The normally good Minnesota ‘pen was battered by the Tigers in this game. Four hurlers worked a combined four innings, allowing four hits and six runs, five of them earned.

We’re Going Streaking

  • Johnny Damon extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an infield single in the first.
  • Austin Jackson went 2 for 4 with a walk, but did not strikeout for the second consecutive game, this after starting his career with a record 19 games in a row with at least one strikeout.
  • Let’s start a streak, shall we? The Tigers have alternated wins and losses in each of their last seven games.

What’s on tap?

The Tigers will look to hand Minnesota their first series loss of the season this afternoon with Dontrelle Willis on the mound for Detroit. Willis won’t have to face Morneau as the Twins slugger is not expected to play, still nursing a sore back, likely caused by all the swings and misses he had against Justin Verlander on Tuesday.

Willis (0-1, 5.00) allowed four runs in 4.2 innings at Minnesota in his season debut last year, it is the only time he has faced the Twins. Willis missed his last start due to illness, but worked one relief inning the next day, which didn’t go well. He’ll need his good command to be effective against Minnesota.

Carl Pavano (3-1, 4.24) takes the ball looking to resume his dominance of the Tigers. In his first four starts against them last year, Pavano was 4-0 with Cleveland and Minnesota, but the Tigers finally got to him in his last start at the CoPa, hanging seven runs on his in less than five innings last September.