6 - 5 Final
  for this game

Morneau helps Twins take series in Detroit

Aug 18, 2011 - 4:25 AM Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Justin Morneau's two-run single in the ninth inning gave the Minnesota Twins a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Matt Capps (4-6) gave up a sacrifice fly in the eighth after entering the game with the bases loaded and no outs to earn the win.

Joe Nathan allowed a run in the ninth, but closed out the game for his 11th save of the year.

Jim Thome knocked in two runs, including a solo blast, in the Twins' third win in 12 games.

Jose Valverde (2-4) allowed two unearned runs in the ninth inning for the loss.

Miguel Cabrera had two hits and two RBI in Detroit's third loss in four games. The Tigers are two games ahead of Cleveland for the lead in the AL Central, with the Indians set to visit Comerica Park for a three-game series this weekend.

Carl Pavano went seven innings in the start for Minnesota, allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks, while Brad Penny allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in six-plus innings for Detroit.

Valverde started the ninth for Detroit and allowed a leadoff single to right by Rene Tosoni. Tsuyoshi Nishioka then laid down a bunt to move Tosoni to second, but Valverde dropped the ball as he tried to get it out of his glove and both runners were safe. Ben Revere followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt of his own to the left side of the infield, but Wilson Betemit's throw pulled Cabrera off the bag, loading the bases with no outs. Valverde looked like he would get out of the error-filled inning with the score remaining tied when he got consecutive strikeouts by Trevor Plouffe and Joe Mauer, but Morneau slapped a 2-0 fastball back up the middle to plate Tosoni and Nishioka.

"[Valverde]'s been lights out this year. To score any runs off him is big," said Morneau. "We had a chance for a big inning and we had a ball find a hole finally."

Brennan Boesch led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, moved to second on a Delmon Young groundout and scored on a Cabrera single to bring the Tigers within one, but Nathan induced a pop up by pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn and fanned Alex Avila to end the game.

Minnesota took the early lead when Thome launched a solo home run over the left-field wall in the second inning for his 601st career home run. It was his third homer in as many at-bats.

Ramon Santiago led off the bottom of the third with a single and advanced to third two batters later on Boesch's liner to left. Young stepped up next and sent a screamer into the right-center field gap. Center fielder Revere made a diving catch to rob an extra-base hit, but Santiago was able to cross the plate on the sacrifice fly to knot the game at one.

Detroit then took a 2-1 lead in the sixth on Jhonny Peralta's solo shot to left-center.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Danny Valencia led off the seventh with a double that was followed by a Tosoni home run to right, knocking Penny off of the mound.

After Santiago worked a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the frame, Andy Dirks laid down a sacrifice bunt to put the tying run in scoring position. Boesch was then hit on the arm on an 0-2 pitch before Cabrera slapped a ball to the wall in right field. Santiago scored easily on the hit, but Boesch was tagged out at home when he tried scoring all the way from first, keeping the game tied at three.

Duane Below relieved Penny in the seventh and returned for the eighth, which Mauer started with a double. Below recorded outs on the next two batters, but Thome put the Twins ahead with an RBI base hit up the middle, giving Minnesota a 4-3 advantage.

Glen Perkins loaded the bases in the eighth on a double by Victor Martinez and back-to-back walks to Avila and Peralta. Capps then replaced Perkins on the bump and retired the three batters he faced on fly outs, but the first was a pinch-hit, sacrifice fly by Betemit to center field, tying the game.

"We hung in there right until the end. We had a good shot, but we just didn't get it done," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

Game Notes

Cabrera extended his hit streak to 15 games...Pavano has not earned a win since beating the Chicago White Sox back on July 7...Prior to Wednesday, Penny had limited opponents to two walks-or-fewer in 16 of his last 23 starts.