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Updated: July 22nd, 2011 10:25pm
Twins Daily: Peralta, Tigers lay wood to Duensing; deficit back to 7

Twins Daily: Peralta, Tigers lay wood to Duensing; deficit back to 7

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Led by the scorching bat of Jhonny Peralta, the Detroit Tigers laid an 8-2 beating on Brian Duensing and the Minnesota Twins.

The skinny

Whatever advantage the Twins have gained by their recent dominance over the Chicago White Sox has seemingly been lost by their feeble results against the Tigers.

Courtesy of Peralta's three hits and four RBIs, the Tigers beat the Twins for the 11th straight time on Friday night, pushing the gap between the two teams to seven games in the American League Central.

"Long, drawn-out night for us," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "(Duensing) didn't have his stuff, just missing off the plate and got behind. Eventually it's going to make you pay, 100 pitches in whatever four and two-thirds innings or whatever."

Heading into Friday night, Tigers starter Max Scherzer owned a 9.13 ERA in four career starts against the Twins, but he allowed only one earned run on four hits and a walk in seven innings, striking out four while throwing 120 pitches.

Duensing was greeted with solo home runs in the first and second innings by Ryan Raburn and Peralta, and he eventually left after only 4 2/3 innings having allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and a walk.

"Their whole lineup is stacked," Duensing said. "I mean, they got the you know the standard big guys in the middle of the lineup, but one through nine for them is really good, and they're all producing right now, and that makes it even more dangerous. ...

"They're a good team, a good lineup I think the only quick out I really had was a laser that (Alex) Avila hit to right.

Turning point

Already trailing 4-1 in the top of the fifth inning, Duensing allowed back-to-back singles to Ryan Raburn and Magglio Ordonez to start the frame, setting the table for the heart of the Tigers' lineup.

Duensing fought back to strike Miguel Cabrera out looking for the first out, then induced a bouncing ball to third off the bat of Victor Martinez. Danny Valencia fielded and immediately threw home, starting a rundown that eventually retired lead runner Raburn.

The out temporarily prevented a run, but the next batter, Peralta, ripped a double into the left-field corner to score Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen followed with a two-RBI single that put the Tigers up 7-1.

Had Valencia thrown to second base instead of home plate on Martinez's grounder, he likely would have started a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.

"You have to turn a double play there," Gardenhire said. "With Martinez running, you have to turn two ... (Valencia) knows that."

Numbers game

88: Runs for the Tigers during their 11-game winning streak over the Twins.

47: Runs for the Twins in those same 11 games.

7: Strikeouts for Duensing, which ties his season-high.

13: RBIs for Peralta as a Tiger at Target Field in seven career games. Over that span, Peralta is hitting 14-26 (.538) with five home runs. "He's swinging good," Gardenhire said. "I think he hit one fastball late in the game, but some breaking balls he seems to be setting on those pretty good, whacking them pretty good. He's hot, he's swinging good and he's on the ball. We've seen him with a couple different teams do the same thing to us. Right now he's probably as locked in as we've seen him."

1-for-25: Ben Revere's offensive numbers since a doubleheader on July 18 against Cleveland.

Health report

• OF Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) went 1-for-2 with a single and two walks in his first game off the disabled list. Kubel said prior to the game that he is prepared to play through some discomfort the rest of the season.

• OF Denard Span (concussion) received a scheduled day off on Friday, but he will play seven innings in center field for Triple-A Rochester on Saturday night. The Twins still want Span to play nine innings at least a couple days in a row before considering activating him from the disabled list.

• RHP Scott Baker (right elbow discomfort) is on track to make his scheduled start Saturday.

• 1B Justin Morneau (neck surgery, wrist) is still not ready to start swinging a bat, but he continues to make progress according to head athletic trainer Rick McWane.

On deck

Making his first start since being placed on the disabled list July 17th with a right flexor strain, Baker (7-5, 3.01) will take the mound for the Saturday afternoon (3:10 p.m., 1500 ESPN) against Tigers right-hander Brad Penny (7-6, 4.47).

In his previous two starts against the Tampa Bay Rays and the LA Dodgers, Baker threw 12 1/3 innings giving up zero earned runs, walking two while striking out 12. In his last outing against Detroit on June 1, Baker threw six innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs. Miguel Cabera and Magglio Ordonez have collectively hit .415 (34-82) against Baker with seven doubles, five home runs and 22 RBI.

Penny faced the Twins on May 30 of this year, five earned runs on 10 hits in six innings. The game saw Kubel and Michael Cuddyer combine for four hits and three RBI. Jim Thome has totaled the most at-bats against Penny (15) and has recorded four hits, one double and one home run with two RBI.

Coming up

• Sunday: vs. Detroit, 1:10 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (6-7, 4.56) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.76)
• Monday: @ Texas, 7:05 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (7-6, 3.87) vs. LHP Derek Holland (8-4, 4.65)
• Tuesday: @ Texas, 7:05 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (6-7, 4.24) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (10-4, 2.94)

Albert Maruggi contributed to this report

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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