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Updated: August 26th, 2011 10:05pm
Twins Daily: Offensive hibernation continues in 8-1 loss to Tigers

Twins Daily: Offensive hibernation continues in 8-1 loss to Tigers

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins continued their offensive hibernation on Friday night by scoring only one run for the fifth consecutive game in an 8-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

The skinny

Once again, the Twins' offense couldn't shift out of first gear.

Despite putting 10 runners on base through the first six innings, the Twins were only able to score one run off Tigers' right-hander Rick Porcello, who scattered seven hits and three walks while striking out four in 6 1/3 innings.

"We're not getting it done," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Let's just put it that way."

Twins' emergency starter Scott Diamond held the Tigers in check through six innings, but Detroit broke the game open with a three-run seventh.

Ryan Raburn singled to lead off the frame, then Austin Jackson walked with one out, and Magglio Ordonez singled to load the bases, prompting manager Ron Gardenhire to bring in left-hander Glen Perkins. Former Twin Delmon Young swung at the first pitch and dribbled a slow-roller down the third-base line, but Raburn scored and everybody moved up a base when Danny Valencia was unable to make a play.

Perkins fanned Miguel Cabrera for the second out, but Victor Martinez followed with a two-RBI ground rule double, putting the Tigers up 5-1.

Diamond was charged with five earned runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking one. Over his last five starts for Triple-A Rochester, Diamond had allowed 26 earned runs in 24 2/3 innings (9.51 ERA).

"He threw the ball very well," Gardenhire said of Diamond's performance. "I don't know if he ran out of gas there in the seventh inning, but he got himself in a little bit of a jam. Perkins made some pitches. We got a little unlucky on the ball with Delmon."

The Tigers scored their first two runs in the third inning on an RBI infield single by Young and a sacrifice fly by Martinez. Detroit added three more runs in the top of the eighth inning off Lester Oliveros.

Turning point

The Twins had a chance to post a crooked number early on when they loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the second inning.

But Matt Tolbert hit a weak tapper back to the mound, allowing Porcello to start a 1-2-3 double play.

Drew Butera followed with a two-out RBI single to right field, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead, but that was all they'd muster.

Ben Revere was thrown out on a grounder to short, although replays showed he beat the throw.

"The tapper back to the mound by Matty -- it was a cutter inside," Gardenhire said. "We got a run, finally, and then the play at first base, I think Ben was safe. I know Ben was safe. And that could have been another run, then who knows after that? But we didn't get that call. And after that, nothing. ...

"We were a little disappointed with the play at first base. I think that kind of took our mindset away from just about everything else, and then you step back and know that you've got bases loaded, no outs, and that's a chance to put up a crooked number, and we didn't get it done."

Numbers game

1: Week since the Twins have scored more than one run in a game.

3: Groundball double plays hit into by the Twins -- including three in the first three innings.

1: Swinging strikes induced by Diamond in 90 pitches in his first major league start back on July 18.

6: Swinging strikes induced by Diamond on Friday in 91 pitches. "It's definitely been a rollercoaster season, a lot of ups and downs," Diamond said. "I've had a lot of positives, some negatives. It's just to continue to build on the positives and look at it that way. Being up here for the second time now, it's really a great feeling to know that the organization still has confidence in me. ... I love playing here. It's awesome with this crowd."

3: RBI singles by Young, including one off the man he was traded for -- Oliveros. The other two were weak infield singles that likely should have been converted into outs.

24: Stolen bases for Ben Revere.

.250: Danny Valencia's batting average after going 2-for-3 with two singles. This is the first time all year Valencia's batting average reached the .250 mark.

0-for-4: Jim Thome in his first game back with the Cleveland Indians on Friday night. Thome struck out twice and hit cleanup.

Health report

• C Joe Mauer sat out again with neck soreness, but he was available off the bench.

• SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka (oblique) was scratched from the lineup, but was still available if needed. Nishioka estimates he is between 80-90%.

• An MRI on Francisco Liriano's shoulder showed no significant damage. The left-hander will remain on the disabled list for at least two weeks with a shoulder strain.

On deck

On Saturday (3:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN), the Twins are faced with the difficult task of preventing right-hander Justin Verlander (19-5, 2.28) from tallying his 20th victory of the season. Verlander will face right-hander Carl Pavano (6-10, 4.54).

Verlander is on pace to throw 255 innings this season, which would surpass his previous career high of 240 in 2009. Only one time this season has Verlander allowed more than four earned runs in a game, and he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 25 of his 28 starts.

Pavano has faced Detroit twice in the last five weeks, allowing eight earned runs on 18 hits in 13 innings (5.54 ERA), striking out six and walking three. The right-hander has allowed more hits (205) than any pitcher in baseball, but to help balance that out Pavano owns the seventh-lowest walk rate (1.81 BB/9).

Coming up

• Sunday: vs. Detroit, 1:10 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (8-13, 5.12) vs. RHP Brad Penny (9-9, 4.82).
• 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)

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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