Twins edge Tigers to give Ron Gardenhire 900th victory as manager
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DETROIT -- Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run single during a four-run fourth inning, helping the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 6-4 on Monday night at Comerica Park.
The Twins had six singles during their big inning as they earned their fourth consecutive win and gave manager Ron Gardenhire his 900th career victory in doing so.
"First you have to have the opportunity to be here," Gardenhire said as he reflected on his victory total. "The Pohlads have given me this opportunity. Terry Ryan and Billy Smith have given me this opportunity. You go a long ways in thanking (people).
"My coaching staff has been fantastic. Our minor league system, with all the work they put in and sending players up here. They give you these opportunities to win baseball games, so I tip my hat to this organization.
"This is 900 wins for our organization, and I just happen to be the manager. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of this organization and proud to be a part of it."
Anthony Swarzak (2-4) picked up the victory, giving up a hit and one walk in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Alex Burnett allowed only one walk in 1 1/3 innings and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his third save in five chances in place of injured closer Matt Capps.
Detroit was trying to get back to .500 for the first time since May 15.
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit one-out singles in the ninth, but their teammates couldn't bring them home. Delmon Young hit a long fly for the second out and Brennan Boesch struck out to end the game.
Doug Fister (1-6) gave up six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, leaving the Tigers with a five-run deficit. He faded after a strong start that included striking out the side in the first and holding the Twins without a hit for 3 1-3 innings.
Cabrera hit a two-run double and Young had a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make it 6-4, but that was it for Detroit.
The Tigers had a chance to get closer in the seventh, but Burnett struck out pinch-hitter Boesch on three pitches with two on to end the inning.
Twins starter Liam Hendriks failed to finish the fifth inning and remains without a win in 12 career starts. He faced four batters in the fifth and gave up a leadoff single, a four-pitch walk, Cabrera's double and bounced a pitch before it reached the plate to walk Fielder and end his outing.
"We have to win ballgames, we're too many games behind right now to take too many chances," Gardenhire said of why he removed Hendriks. "We've got to win and our bullpen did a super job. They came in and every one of them did what they had to do (to) get through it. ... That was fantastic."
The Twins built a cushion with six runs over the fourth and fifth innings. Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit also had RBI singles in the fourth, and Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each singled in a run in the fifth to make it 6-1.
1,140-1,244: Tom Kelly's record as Twins manager from 1986 to 2001, giving him the most wins and losses of any manager in franchise history.
900-800: Gardenhire's record as Twins manager since 2002.
4: Consecutive victories for the Twins. That ties the team's longest winning streak of the season, a stretch that ran from May 16-19 and included two wins at Detroit.
14: Number of games in which Burnett has not given up a run.
13-13: Twins record in the AL Central. They are 11 games under .500 outside the division.
Capps (shoulder) hopes to be pitching for Single-A Fort Myers a week from Monday. He is eligible to come off the disabled list when the Twins begin second-half play on July 13.
Tuesday: @ Tigers, 6:05 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (4-5, 7.74 ERA) vs. LHP Duane Below (2-1, 2.70)
Wednesday: @ Tigers, 6:05 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (1-4, 4.10) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (8-5, 2.69)
Thursday: @Tigers, 12:05 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (7-3, 2.63) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (6-5, 4.35)© The Associated Press