Twins fall to Tigers in 13 innings, drop game back in home-field race
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More than 4 hours after Danny Valencia's uppercut grand slam staked the Minnesota Twins to a 5-0 lead on Saturday night, Valencia's misses at the plate and in the field helped the Detroit Tigers to an 11-10, 13-inning victory at Comerica Park -- dropping the Twins a game back in the race for home-field advantage in the American League playoffs.
Valencia hit a grand slam in the first inning and a solo homer in the fifth, giving him five home runs in his past eight games. But Valencia also struck out with the bases loaded to end the top of the 13th and had two errors, the latter with runners on first and second and no outs in the bottom half.
Johnny Damon and Miguel Cabrera had singled off Pat Neshek -- the eighth pitcher the Twins (92-62) had used -- when Jhonny Peralta hit a chopper down the third-base line. Valencia appeared to make a backhand pickup, but the ball dropped out of his glove and Damon beat Valencia's diving tag to the bag.
Left-hander Randy Flores replaced Neshek, and second baseman Orlando Hudson made a sterling play on Brennan Boesch's one-hopper off Flores' glove to throw out Damon at the plate. But then Inge came up and drove a 1-1 slider into right field, bringing home Cabrera with the winning run.
Earlier, AL East front-runner Tampa Bay (93-61) beat Seattle 9-1 to move 1½ games in front of the New York Yankees (92-63), who lost their fourth straight 7-3 against Boston, and a game ahead of the Twins for home-field advantage.
With AL West champion Texas (86-68) far off the pace, here's the remaining schedule for the three teams with a shot at home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs (all times Central):
Sunday: vs. Seattle, 12:40 p.m.
Monday: vs. Baltimore, 6:10 p.m.
Tuesday: vs. Baltimore, 6:10 p.m.
Wednesday: vs. Baltimore, 6:10 p.m.
Thursday: at Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
Friday: at Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
Saturday: at Kansas City, 6:10 p.m.
Sunday: at Kansas City, 1:10 p.m.
Sunday: at Detroit, 12:05 p.m.
Monday: at Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
Tuesday: at Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday: at Kansas City, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: vs. Toronto, 7:10 p.m.
Friday: vs. Toronto, 7:10 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 2: vs. Toronto, 12:10 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 3: vs. Toronto, 1:10 p.m.
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Sunday: vs. Boston, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: at Toronto, 6:07 p.m.
Tuesday: at Toronto, 6:07 p.m.
Wednesday: at Toronto, 6:07 p.m.
Friday: at Boston, 6:10 p.m.
Saturday: at Boston, TBD.
Sunday: at Boston, 12:35 p.m.