Twins ride solid start by Diamond, four RBIs by Doumit to beat Tigers
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The Twins have nothing to play for themselves over the last few days of the regular season, but on Friday they were able to have some fun at the expense of a team trying to secure a playoff spot.
Tigers right-hander Brayan Villarreal loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth with three walks -- one intentional to Joe Mauer -- and Ryan Doumit made him pay with a two-run double that put the Twins in front 4-2.
Doumit's double capped a four-RBI night that also included a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.
Scott Diamond was cruising along, holding the Tigers scoreless through seven innings. But after Austin Jackson reached on an error by third baseman Trevor Plouffe, Omar Infante clubbed his fourth home run of the season into the left-field bleachers, tying the game at 2-2 in the eighth. Diamond was lifted for right-hander Jared Burton, who struck out Prince Fielder to end the inning.
For Diamond, Friday's start was just more proof that he deserves a spot in the Twins' 2013 rotation. Despite the home run, Diamond lowered his ERA on the season to 3.54 and crossed over the 200-inning mark, with Triple-A included.
Doumit broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh inning with a towering, two-run homer off Tigers left-hander Phil Coke. An error by first baseman Fielder allowed Justin Morneau to reach safely one batter earlier, allowing the Twins to plate an extra run.
Doumit and the Twins offense took advantage of some good fortune. Prior to the seventh-inning blast, Detroit lefty Drew Smyly was dealing.
He held the Twins scoreless on two hits and a walk while striking out five in 5 1/3 innings. But Smyly was moved to the bullpen near the end of August, and Friday was only his second start since being reinserted into the rotation. Because of this, Smyly was removed after throwing his 93rd pitch.
Joe Mauer finished the night 0-for-2 with two walks, lowering his batting average to .322. Miguel Cabrera singled twice in four trips, raising his average to an American League-leading .327.
Glen Perkins picked up his 16th save with a clean ninth inning.
The Tigers had two chances to jump out to a lead and failed to take advantage both times.
The first opportunity came in the top of the fifth inning, when Andy Dirks hit a bouncing ball to the normally sure-handed Morneau, who bobbled what could have been an inning-ending, 3-6-1 double play. Instead, Delmon Young reached second base safely and Dirks reached as well, but Avisail Garcia lined out to center and Gerald Laird grounded weakly to second to end the threat.
One inning later, Cabrera hit a long fly ball toward the right field corner and walked out of the batter's box to admire what he thought was going to be an opposite-field home run. Instead, the ball bounced off the wall and Cabrera was held to a single.
The next batter, Fielder, singled, moving Cabrera to second base. Young then delivered a single to right field, but Ben Revere gunned down Cabrera by a good 10 feet at home plate.
Had Cabrera hustled out of the batter's box on his long single, it's likely he would have scored easily on Young's base hit.
21: The number of times, in 26 starts, Diamond has completed at least six innings. Only once has he failed to complete five.
17: Home runs for Doumit
INF Eduardo Escobar left the game after being hit by a pitch on his left elbow. X-rays were negative.
OF Josh Willingham (strained shoulder) might not be able to play before the end of the season on Wednesday.
RHP Sam Deduno (eye) is unlikely to make his last scheduled start of the season.