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Updated: September 23rd, 2012 3:47pm
Mauer drives in four, closes batting title race as Twins win DH opener

Mauer drives in four, closes batting title race as Twins win DH opener

by The Associated Press
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DETROIT -- Joe Mauer drove in four runs and the Minnesota Twins rallied against Max Scherzer, handing the contending Detroit Tigers a 10-4 loss Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.

The Tigers began the day one-half game behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who played later at the Los Angeles Angels.

After leaving his previous start with shoulder weakness, Scherzer (16-7) pitched five shutout innings with a fastball that topped out at 93 mph, a bit slower than usual. But he couldn't get an out in the sixth, hurt by a dropped fly ball, and ended up allowing three runs.

Scott Diamond (12-8) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out five and improved his career ERA against the Tigers to 3.07 in four starts.

The Tigers led 2-0 early, with Miguel Cabrera hitting an RBI double and later scoring. But Detroit's shaky defense helped the Twins scored five times in the sixth.

Ben Revere led off with a fly ball that left fielder Andy Dirks dropped just short of the wall. By the time Dirks could locate the ball, Revere was at third with what was ruled a triple.

Mauer pulled the Twins within 2-1 with an infield single, one of his three hits, and Josh Willingham doubled. Reliever Phil Coke got Justin Morneau to hit a fly to shallow left and Dirks got a late break, with ball dropping for a tying single.

Ryan Doumit walked to load the bases, and Trevor Plouffe made it 3-2 with a single on Brayan Villarreal's first pitch.

The Twins then added a bizarre run when a third strike got away from Gerald Laird. Villarreal covered the plate, but stretched as if trying for a forceout instead of tagging Morneau. Villarreal only realized his mistake when plate umpire Tom Hallion singled safe. The fifth run scored when Pedro Florimon beat out an double-play replay.

Revere walked in the seventh, stole second, took third on Laird's throwing error and scored when Dirks made a diving catch of Mauer's foul fly to left. The Twins made it 8-2 on RBI singles by Eduardo Escobar and Revere in the eighth, and Mauer tripled later in the inning.

Avisail Garcia hit a two-run single in the Detroit ninth.

NOTES: Scherzer's loss was his first since July 30. He is 10-2 in 16 starts since June 28. ... After the first-game victory, the Twins are now 5-0 in day-night doubleheaders this season, having swept two against Kansas City earlier this season. ... The first game drew a sellout crowd of 40,438, and the second game was expected to sell out as well. ... With the game out of hand, Tigers manager Jim Leyland took out stars Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson after the eighth inning.

© The Associated Press
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