Tigers hit a pair of three-run homers to beat Twins in Mauer's return
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DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer that capped a six-run second inning, sending Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins 9-3 Saturday.
On a day when the Tigers honored former manager Jim Leyland, they won with a familiar formula they used to reach the playoffs under him: Power by Cabrera, the two-time AL MVP, and pitching by Scherzer, the reigning Cy Young Award winner.
Cabrera connected for his fifth homer, tagging Kyle Gibson (3-3). Victor Martinez also homered, giving him eight this season and four in the last six games.
Scherzer (5-1) wasn't sharp yet still won, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out six -- his team-record streak of fanning at least seven in seven starts to begin a season ended.
After Leyland threw out the first ball, one of his favorite players made an immediate impact. Don Kelly, a utilityman who owes his major league career to Leyland's patience and trust, reached over the left-field fence in the first inning to steal a homer from Kurt Suzuki.
Kelly then scored the game's first run as the Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the second on RBI singles by Alex Avila and Andrew Romine. Detroit added another run when second baseman Brian Dozier dropped shortstop Danny Santana's flip, then threw wildly to the plate as Avila scored.
The error had major consequences, as Cabrera followed with his homer for a 6-0 lead.
The Twins closed the deficit on Dozier's long, three-run shot in the third, but weren't able to do anything else against Scherzer.
Anthony Swarzak relieved Gibson and pitched four shutout innings.
Martinez broke open the game with a three-run homer off Michael Tonkin in the seventh. Martinez is on pace to easily surpass his career high of 25.
Tigers reliever Phil Coke got into the game in his latest role as the mop-up man. He allowed a leadoff single, drawing boos from the crowd, but Cabrera helped him out with a 3-6-3 double play that led to a shutout inning.
--The Tigers honored Leyland and had him throw out the first pitch to longtime friend and Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont. Leyland, the only manager to lead Detroit to four postseason appearances, was also presented with a framed painting by team president Dave Dombrowski, Justin Verlander and Cabrera. "It was a great run for eight years," Leyland said before the game. "I only wish we could have brought a World Series trophy to this city."
--A fan behind the Twins dugout got an ovation after catching a foul ball with his left hand while cradling his daughter in his right arm.
--Scherzer's eight games with at least six strikeouts is the second-longest streak to start a season in franchise history, trailing his own 19-game run last year.© The Associated Press