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Updated: July 3rd, 2012 11:02pm
Twins power their way past Tigers, extend win streak to five games

Twins power their way past Tigers, extend win streak to five games

by The Associated Press
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DETROIT -- Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe hit homers in a five-run third, and Ryan Doumit had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, lifting the Minnesota Twins to an 8-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

"That was a long night, but a huge win for this ballclub," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after a 3-hour, 26-minute game and 90-minute rain delay. "Our hitters came through when we needed them and our bullpen was great again."

The skinny

Joe Mauer had three hits, including a solo homer to lead off the ninth that gave the Twins a two-run lead and helped earn a season-high, five-game winning streak.

Jeff Gray (5-0) gave up only one hit in two innings after starter Nick Blackburn gave up six runs and eight hits over four innings. Kyle Waldrop and Tyler Robertson each pitched another innings of scoreless relief, and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth inning for his fourth save in six chances.

Brayan Villarreal (3-2) took the loss by giving up Doumit's sacrifice fly, the only run he gave up in two innings of relief.

Detroit has dropped back-to-back games to the Twins after pulling within a game of .500 with five wins in an eight-game stretch.

The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the first on Willingham's sacrifice fly. Detroit went ahead 3-1 in the second on Ryan Raburn's RBI double and Brennan Boesch's two-run single.

The Tigers lost the lead in in the next inning, giving up five runs with two outs because of four hits, a balk, wild pitch and costly miscue in the field. Detroit shortstop Ramon Santiago had a chance to keep the Twins scoreless in the third, but his fielding error allowed Ben Revere to score and extend the inning.

Willingham followed with his 18th homer and Plouffe, the first to face called-up reliever Jose Ortega, cleared the fences for the 19th time this season to put the Twins ahead 6-3.

"Plouffe is just unbelievable right now," Gardenhire said. "I don't even know how to describe what he's doing. It seems like he's making at least one fantastic play a night and he had more than one tonight."

Boesch had a solo homer and Austin Jackson followed with a game-tying, two-run shot in the fourth inning.

Turning point

Following two scoreless innings for both teams, Doumit's fly put the Twins ahead for good in the seventh.

Numbers game

1:30:  Length of rain delay before the start of Tuesday's game.

4-0: Twins record this season in Detroit.

5: Shoutout innings pitched by the Twins bullpen on Tuesday. The bullpen also threw five shutout innings on Monday.

Health report

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.

On deck

Wednesday: @ Tigers, 6:05 p.m. LHP Brian Duensing (1-4, 4.10 ERA) 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)
Friday: @Rangers, 7:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (2-7, 5.40) vs. LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 9.00)

© The Associated Press