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Twins pitcher Jeff Manship throws against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning Friday in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone

Twins cut Tigers' lead to one game

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Bemidji Pioneer
Twins cut Tigers' lead to one game
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins have wanted out of the Metrodome for years.

They're playing as if they want to stay a little longer.


Jeff Manship's first major league win was well-timed for the Twins, who got a grand slam from Delmon Young and hung on for a 10-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night that cut Detroit's AL Central lead to one game.

The Twins and Tigers each have two games remaining.

"We've been playing catchup for a long time here, and it's not easy," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Every day is a must-win, it seems like."

Young had five RBIs, beginning with his first career slam in the first inning against Lenny DiNardo (0-3) that sent the Twins to their 14th win in their past 18 games.

Zack Greinke's up next for Minnesota on Saturday. But the Tigers -- who lost 8-0 to the Chicago White Sox on Friday night -- are in for a tense finish. The end to this game was plenty tense, too, with the Royals rallying to put the tying run at the plate in the eighth after falling behind 10-0.

Following Mitch Maier's two-run single off Jose Mijares that reduced Minnesota's lead to 10-7, Matt Guerrier got the last two outs of the inning and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 46th save, setting the Twins' single-season record.

Manship (1-1) was charged with four runs (three earned) in 5 1-3 innings, pitching better than his line looked. Striking out four, the rookie right-hander was hurt by a passed ball by Mauer and a handful of soft singles.

"Given the situation, it makes it even better when you can throw well," said Manship, who was still grinning after the game about his first win.

Young gave him plenty of help, hitting his first career slam for his 10th homer of the season. It's been a second straight year of inconsistency and light power production from Young, the former first overall pick in the draft, but he has also had another decent second half.

After splitting their four-game series with the Tigers, the Twins arrived home to raw, rainy weather -- fitting conditions for the start of their final series under the roof. The stadium is now officially known as Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, courtesy of a naming rights deal the Vikings announced this week in anticipation of soon becoming the sole tenant.

The rest of those new signs might have to wait a bit to be hung, the way the Twins are playing.

The crowd of 40,223 roared as Matt Tolbert stepped in the batter's box in the fourth inning. The cheers weren't for Tolbert, though he hit a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 10, but for the "F" that appeared next to the Chicago-Detroit score on the videoboard above right field.

There is the possibility of a pennant race lasting through the final weekend and perhaps to a 163rd game. The tiebreaker would be played here, but not until Tuesday because the Vikings have priority for their Monday night matchup against the Packers.

"Last year with three games to go we actually had a lead, so we messed that one up. This year we're hoping the Tigers mess up," said Young, who reluctantly gave a curtain call after his slam.

Pioneer staff reports