Recap Detroit at Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - An infield single from Aaron Hicks with two down in the bottom of the ninth scored the winning run, as Minnesota posted a 4-3 victory over Detroit in the second test of a three-game series.
After J.D. Martinez launched a go-ahead three-run shot in the top of the ninth off Glen Perkins (4-3), things unraveled for the AL Central leaders.
Joe Nathan (4-4) walked Trevor Plouffe with one out, and his pinch-runner Doug Bernier came all the way home on a double by Kurt Suzuki which bounced over the outstretched glove of Tigers outfielder Ezequiel Carrera. Pinch- runner Chris Herrmann moved to third, and Hicks' chopper landed well behind and to the left of second base. Detroit shortstop Andrew Romine fielded it cleanly but his throw to first was late, with Herrmann crossing home to end the contest.
"We've already talked to 'Zeke' about it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He was trying his tail off, which is good, but the smart play there is, if you're not sure you're going to catch it, you contain it and keep it at first and second. I'm sure for a split second he thought he could catch the ball. It just didn't work out."
Kennys Vargas ended up 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored, while Suzuki knocked in two for the Twins, who won for the second time in their last seven.
Ricky Nolasco was in line for the win, after giving up five hits and one walk, while striking out five over his eight-inning, scoreless effort.
Torii Hunter ended up with two hits and a run scored for the Tigers, while Victor Martinez hit safely twice. Detroit's division lead remained at 1 1/2 games, after Kansas City lost to the White Sox.
Rick Porcello allowed seven hits and two runs with five strikeouts and a pair of walks over his eight-inning outing.
The Twins picked up the game's first run in the fourth, as Vargas bounced a ball off the wall in left center for a triple and scored when Suzuki followed with a base hit.
Vargas lined a shot to right with one down in the home sixth to double the Minnesota edge.
Perkins was in trouble from the start in the home ninth, allowing a bloop one- out double to Hunter and a solid single to Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez popped out but J.D. Martinez was just able to power a ball over the high wall in right to give Detroit a 3-2 advantage.
Everyone was excited," J.D. Martinez said. "We know what's going on. We're all in it. To come through was huge, but to lose this way hurts at the same time. Right now it's pointless (to dwell on it)."