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Updated: August 27th, 2011 6:04pm
Twins Daily: Hughes rocks Verlander, but Young lifts Tigers to win

Twins Daily: Hughes rocks Verlander, but Young lifts Tigers to win

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins scored multiple runs in a game for the first time in seven days on Saturday, but it was a seventh-inning RBI single by Delmon Young that lifted the Detroit Tigers to a 6-4 win.

The skinny

Young's two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning off Carl Pavano gave the Tigers a 5-4 lead they didn't relinquish.

This marked the seventh consecutive loss for the Twins, who are now 11-30 since July 18.

Facing what had been a hibernating Twins offense, it looked like Cy Young Award candidate Verlander was all set up to win his 20th game of the season.

But with the Twins trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Luke Hughes and Jason Repko hit back-to-back home runs to left field to cut the Tigers' lead to 4-2. Hughes then added a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth to tie the game.

Verlander left after six-plus innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out six, and he eventually earned that 20th win with help from the late run support.

"We got his pitch count up," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That just tells you a little bit about him. He's a warrior. His team picked him up and got him some runs there late. Amazing he even went back out there with 115 pitches or whatever. That just tells you a little bit about the man. He's pretty good, and a pretty tough competitor. We gave him a good run for their money, but like I said, that tells you how good."

Pavano went 6 2/3 and allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk while striking out four.

"I was just second-guessing myself a lot," Pavano said, "making pitches that I wasn't necessarily committed to -- that I wanted to go the other way and I didn't have enough conviction to go with what I was thinking, and it definitely hurt us. It cost us the ballgame, no doubt about it."

The Tigers scored their first two runs on solo homers by Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila in the top of the second, then jumped out to a 4-0 advantage on an RBI double by Ryan Raburn and an RBI single by Austin Jackson in the top of the fifth -- a frame that began when Jhonny Peralta reached safely on a Trevor Plouffe throwing error.

Turning point

After the Twins battled back to tie the game at 4-4, in the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers wasted no time regaining the advantage.

Wilson Betemit led off the seventh with a single up the middle off Pavano, and Austin Jackson walked two batters later to put runners on first and second with one out.

Pavano fanned Ramon Santiago for the second out, but just when it looked like he was set to pitch out of the jam, Young drove a sharp single to right field to put the Tigers in front 5-4.

"You've got to be committed to what makes you successful and live and die by that, and today I got beat on pitches that I shouldn't have made, and I know it," Pavano said. "The most important at-bat I think in that game was Betemit. He ended up hitting a good pitch, but I think I could have went in other areas and got an out, so that really chapped me the most."

Numbers game

5: By scoring four runs, the Twins snapped a streak of five consecutive games in which they scored exactly one run -- a streak that tied a major league record.

4: The number of times Verlander has allowed four earned runs or more in a start this season.

4: Home runs for Hughes this year. "(Hitting coach Joe) Vavra actually goes, 'Hey, let's be aggressive, start getting after him,'" Hughes said. "I was actually going to take a pitch, and I changed my mind walking up to the plate. I actually told Repko I was going to take one, and that all changed walking up there. Maybe I'll do that more often."

1: Throwing error by Plouffe, who sailed one after fielding a routine groundball in the fifth inning. Aside from that, Plouffe has looked solid in his time at shortstop over the last week.

2: The number of times this season the Twins have hit back-to-back home runs.

2: Warning track fly balls hit by the Twins in the bottom of the seventh -- one by Justin Morneau, the other by Plouffe.

Overheard


"Runners in scoring position, I like to be up there, especially when it comes down to late in the ballgames. Bear down and try to get a lead or extend a lead or tie a ballgame up. I know late in the game if I can get a base hit or find a way to get on base, I've got four guys hitting over .300 coming up that love to hit with runners in scoring position. Fortunately enough, I found a way to get on and Miguel came up and put a big insurance run up there. With a one-run lead, even with the greatest closers, any guy can get on and anything can happen."
-- Delmon Young

"Actually I talked to Tony Oliva before the game, and he was talking about a couple guys he was really aggressive with -- Nolan Ryan and one other guy, and he said you can't give them a strike, because then they just get nasty and go at the corners. I actually had that in the back of my mind today as well."
-- Hughes

Health report

• C Joe Mauer (neck soreness) was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game. Gardenhire defended Mauer's recent struggle with injuries during pregame, saying "He's played hurt more than any of these other guys have, and he's not getting credit for that, which sucks." Mauer was originally available to pinch hit in Saturday's game, but his neck stiffened when he tried taking some swings in the cage. Catcher Rene Rivera will likely be recalled from Triple-A on Sunday to give the Twins insurance behind the plate.

• OF Denard Span (migraine symptoms) was told by Gardenhire to continue resting at home before resuming his workout regime when the Twins head out of the road Monday. Span's return this season is in question, especially given a rehab assignment won't be possible with the minor-league season coming to a close. "He's not going to be getting at-bats," Gardenhire said. "So, he's coming back up to play. Whether he's going to be able to do that or not, I'm not positive."

• OF Michael Cuddyer missed Saturday's game due to continued swelling in his wrist. He said he has tried playing through the injury, but a lack of improvement caused him to opt for an off-day, with the hope of returning Sunday or Monday.

• 2B Alexi Casilla (hamstring) will leave Sunday for a short rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester.

On deck

The series concludes Sunday (1:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) when left-hander Brian Duensing (8-13, 5.12) takes on right-hander Brad Penny (9-9, 4.82).

Duensing's season hit a low point earlier this week when he gave up seven earned runs on nine hits in only two innings, including nine hits in 12 at-bats against right-handed hitters. The same problem has plagued Duensing all season, as right-handed batters are hitting .333/.387/.570 off him with 61 extra-base hits in 479 plate appearances.

Penny has faced the Twins three times already this season, posting a 5.68 ERA with 22 hits allowed and seven walked issued in 19 innings. Penny has also become one of the more hittable pitchers in baseball this season, allowing a contact rate of 90%.

Coming up

• Monday: @ White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Kevin Slowey (0-2, 6.84) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (10-6, 3.19).
• Tuesday: @ White Sox, 7:10 p.m. RHP Anthony Swarzak (3-4, 3.62) vs. RHP Zach Stewart (1-3, 4.76)
• Wednesday: @ White Sox, 1:10 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (0-2, 5.68) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (5-6, 5.06)

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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