Twins top Tigers 8-6, win season-high 5th in a row
DETROIT (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins kept their roll going in the Motor City.
Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe hit homers in a five-run third and Ryan Doumit had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, lifting Minnesota Twins to an 8-6 win over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
Joe Mauer had three hits, including a solo homer to lead off the ninth that gave the Twins a two-run lead and helped them earn a season-high, five-game winning streak.
"That was a long night, but a huge win for this ballclub," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after a 3-hour, 26-minute game and 90-minute rain delay. "Our hitters came through when we needed them and our bullpen was great again."
Jeff Gray (5-0) gave up one hit in two innings after starter Nick Blackburn gave up six runs and eight hits over four innings. Kyle Waldrop and Tyler Robertson each pitched another inning of scoreless relief and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save in six chances.
Perkins pitched for a fourth straight day.
"He said he wanted the ball," Gardenhire said. "And, that's all I wanted to hear."
Brayan Villarreal (3-2) took the loss by giving up Doumit's sacrifice fly, the only run he gave up in two innings of relief. Duane Below, starting for scratched starter Max Scherzer, gave up five runs -- one earned -- and five hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Detroit has dropped back-to-back games to the Twins after pulling within a game of .500 with five wins in an eight-game stretch.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first on Willingham's sacrifice fly. Detroit went ahead 3-1 in the second on Ryan Raburn's RBI double and Brennan Boesch's two-run single.
The Tigers lost the lead in the next inning, giving up five runs with two outs because of four hits, a balk, wild pitch and costly miscue in the field. Detroit shortstop Ramon Santiago had a chance to keep the Twins scoreless in the third, but his fielding error allowed Ben Revere to score and extend the inning.
Willingham followed with his 18th homer and Plouffe, the first to face called-up reliever Jose Ortega, cleared the fences for the 19th time this season go put Minnesota ahead 6-3.
"Plouffe is just unbelievable right now," Gardenhire said. "I don't even know how to describe what he's doing. It seems like he's making at least one fantastic play a night and he had more than one tonight."
Boesch had a solo homer and Austin Jackson followed with a game-tying, two-run shot in the fourth inning.
Following two scoreless innings for both teams, Doumit's fly put the Twins ahead for good in the seventh.
"They're swinging the bats pretty good," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "They're like everyone else, they'll go as far as their pitching takes them."
NOTES: The Twins optioned RHP Liam Hendriks (0-5, 7.04 ERA) to Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday and recalled RHP Cole De Vries. ... The Tigers recalled Ortega from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday and purchased the contract of LHP Darin Downs from the Mud Hens. They sent RHP Luis Marte and IF Danny Worth to Toledo and designated Toledo OF Matt Young for assignment to make room for Downs on the 40-man roster. ... Downs made his major league debut in the ninth -- walking one and striking one -- to complete a comeback from having a fractured skull and brain swelling after getting hit by a line drive while pitching for Tampa Bay's Double-A team in 2009.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.