Tigers tripped up by Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — The old adage says that momentum in baseball is the next day’s starting pitcher.

But on Friday night in Minneapolis, after Omar Infante hit a game-tying two-run home run in the eighth inning, momentum was the next inning’s relief pitcher.

And after allowing three walks – one intentional – and a two-run single to Minnesota Twins’ designated hitter Ryan Doumit, Tigers’ righty Brayan Villarreal squandered whatever momentum Infante’s blast created half an inning earlier as the Tigers fell to the Twins, 4-2, at Target Field.

Villarreal entered in a 2-2 game, walked lead-off hitter Denard Span, then intentionally walked Joe Mauer after Span was sacrificed to second; then intentionally walked Justin Morneau after Span stole third and allowed Doumit’s game-winning single up the middle, into right-centerfield.

The loss drops the Tigers to 1 1/2 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central, pending the outcome of Chicago’s night game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Until Infante’s home run in the eighth, the Tigers couldn’t solve soft-tossing lefty Scott Diamond, who beat them in the first game of the Twins’ doubleheader sweep at Comerica Park last Sunday.

Diamond threw 7 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits. He struck out one and walked none.

Prior to Infante’s home run to left field, third baseman Trevor Plouffe booted an Austin Jackson grounder.

Diamond’s outing overshadowed Drew Smyly’s five-plus innings of scoreless baseball.

Smyly started and allowed only two hits, while striking out five and walking one before being pulled by manager Jim Leyland with an out in the sixth inning.

He threw 93 pitches, and was relieved by Phil Coke, who surrendered a two-run home run to Doumit in the seventh to break the scoreless tie.

Doumit’s home run came after a Prince Fielder error at first base.

The Tigers only recorded six hits, and Miguel Cabrera – two singles – and Delmon Young were the only two with multiple base knocks.

Cabrera singled off the high wall in right field in the sixth inning.

Justin Verlander opposes P.J. Walters in the middle game of a three-game set Saturday at 4:05 p.m.

avatar

Posted by Tribune News Services

Leave a Reply