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Updated: August 13th, 2012 10:16pm
Darin Mastroianni stars, Sam Deduno 'filthy' in Twins win over Tigers

Darin Mastroianni stars, Sam Deduno 'filthy' in Twins win over Tigers

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Another strong outing by Samuel Deduno and a big night at the plate, and in the field, for Darin Mastroianni highlighted a 9-3 win by the Minnesota Twins over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

The skinny

Deduno doesn't paint corners or pitch many clean innings, but to this point he has been able to play with fire without getting burned badly.

Monday night's performance was another example, as Deduno pitched around five walks and five hits while managing to allow only three runs in seven innings. He also struck out six and threw only 58 strikes with his 103 pitches.

"I just set up right down the middle with him and let the ball do the work," said catcher Ryan Doumit. "You don't know what he's going to do. It'll dart, it'll cut, it'll sink, it'll rise. I was back there like a goalie putting fingers down and saying try to hit this guy. It's fun to watch him. He works hard, he cares and gives us a chance to win."

Deduno came out for the eighth inning sitting just shy of 100 pitches and ran out of gas quickly, allowing three straight hits and a run to start the frame. The only other blemish came on an RBI double by Jhonny Peralta in the top of the fifth inning -- an inning that could have, and perhaps should have, resulted in a crooked number for Detroit.

Instead, with runners on the corners and one out, Andy Dirks hit a liner back at Deduno, but the ball deflected off his glove toward second baseman Alexi Casilla, who caught the ball and fired to first base to double off Omar Infante. Deduno delivered one of his customary fist pumps as he walked back to the dugout.

Deduno now has 28 strikeouts and 30 walks on the season, which isn't a recipe for long-term success. But so far hitters have not been able to square him up very often.

"That's stuff," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You put people on, but with that breaking ball and the movement he has on his fastball, that team's an aggressive team over there. He gets them chasing. He was buckling some guys over on that side. Those guys, that's not the norm for the Detroit Tigers. They're a very good hitting baseball team. He was throwing some breaking balls, but they were swinging and the ball was disappearing. That just tells you a little bit about his stuff."

Meanwhile, the Twins offense teed off on right-hander Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen. Justin Morneau drove home the game's first run with a single in the bottom of the third inning, and Darin Mastroianni broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth with a solo homer to left.

Mastroianni later delivered a two-out, two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth off reliever Phil Coke to stretch the Twins' lead to 5-1. Alexi Casilla also knocked home a run in the sixth with an RBI double.

"Mastroianni, what can you say about him?" Gardenhire said. "All over the field, making great plays out there, a couple of them, and offensively was all over, running around. Some big hits, huge hits."

Doumit broke the game open with a three-run bomb off the facing of the upper deck in left field off lefty Duane Below in the bottom of the seventh.

Collectively, the Twins pounded out 18 hits -- just two shy of their season-high. In early May, the Twins ranked 29th in the majors in scoring runs. Heading into Tuesday, the Twins will rank 12th.

Mastroianni, Mauer, Doumit and Jamey Carroll tallied three hits apiece. Ben Revere and Josh Willingham each collected two.

Turning point

After the Tigers tied the game in the top of the fifth, Mastroianni took over offensively with run-producing hits in back-to-back innings.

Mastroianni also made a diving catch with two runners on base in the top of the eighth inning.

"These guys are good, so it doesn't make it very easy to feel really good in the box, but we work really hard," said Mastroianni, who is now hitting .296/.361/.444. "Joe Vavra and me work really hard in the cage and try to prepare me when I have three, four days off, to go in there and be prepared to play. ...

"Coming up to the big leagues for the first time, being a fourth outfielder is kind of tricky. Obviously it's harder when you're not playing every day, you're not used to that, and then you've got to go face big-league pitching after not playing for four days. But at the same time it does give me a chance to learn a lot and regroup. If I do have a bad game I do have a couple days to kind of regroup and figure out what happened and what went wrong so we can try to prevent it the next time."

Overheard

"I've never seen anything like that before in my life. I hope he stays with us. I know I never want to face him. I had tons of anxiety before catching him tonight because I'd caught him in between innings in other nights and thought, 'Oh my God.' He's filthy. If he can learn to harness it and maybe cut down on the walks, I think he has the chance to be pretty special."

-- Doumit on catching Deduno

Numbers game

3: Home runs for Mastroianni this season.

14: Stolen bases for Mastroianni, who swiped second in the bottom of the first inning.

14: Home runs for Doumit, which is one shy of his career high.

6: Pitches seen in three at-bats by Delmon Young against Deduno, despite Deduno's propensity to miss the strike zone.

Health report

• A follow-up MRI on Matt Capps' inflamed rotator cuff Monday showed no significant changes, meaning the right-hander will continue doing strengthening exercises for the time being. Capps said Sunday he hoped to start throwing again by Wednesday, but that now appears unlikely. Capps still hopes to be pitching again in September.

• 3B Trevor Plouffe (bruised thumb) was back in the Twins lineup on Monday night for the first time in three weeks. "It feels good. It's good to be back," he said. "I missed a lot of time. It kind of snuck up on me. I didn't realize I missed three weeks but watching those games when the team was on the road made me really miss being in there."

• RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) had his latest start rained out, so he will pitch again on Thursday -- likely 50 pitches for the Fort Myers Miracle.

• RHP Kyle Gibson (elbow) will ramp up to 50 or 60 pitches in his start for Fort Myers on Tuesday.

On deck

Tuesday: vs. Tigers, 7:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (2-7, 4.46) vs. RHP Doug Fister (6-7, 3.48)
Wednesday: vs. Tigers, 12:10 p.m. RHP Cole De Vries (2-3, 4.77) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (11-6, 4.65)

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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