Thames' homer snaps pitchers' duel, Tigers winJul 2, 2007 - 4:55 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- Marcus Thames homered in the eighth inning to break a scoreless tie and hand the Detroit Tigers a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night.
Jeremy Bonderman gutted his way through eight scoreless innings to notch his ninth victory of the season.
Thames' homer was his eighth of the season and second in two days for Detroit, which avoided a sweep with the win.
"It was a fastball," Thames said. "I was just trying to get something good to hit and just try to put some good wood on it."
Bonderman (9-1) worked out of jams in each of the first three innings, but settled down to allow just one more hit the rest of the way. The 24-year-old ace yielded six hits issued one walk while striking out seven.
"I just went out and wanted to establish my four-seam fastball to lefties and just use all pitches," Bonderman said. "(Curtis) Granderson made one of the best plays, probably of the year, and everybody else played good defense. We finally got a run late in the game."
Todd Jones worked a perfect ninth for his 20th save of the season. Thames' blast was just the Tigers third hit of the night off Twins starter Scott Baker, who struck out three and issued a single walk.
"I know what my job is," Thames said. "I know I'm a bench player so I'm going to come off the bench and do what I can do. I know it takes me a while to get going if I'm not in there every day but I've been working my butt off every day to try to get better at it. Just try to do something every day if I get a chance."
The 25-year-old Baker dominated most of the night, holding Detroit hitless through the first three innings. He came into Sunday's contest having yielded just three earned runs in 12 innings over his last two starts.
"It was a little disappointing," Baker said. "I was very aggressive and put guys away. I did a lot of things right.
"It's nothing to get upset about, it's just baseball."
The Tigers' first hit came when Granderson led off the fourth inning with a triple. The Twins' righthander held firm, bearing down to strike out All-Star Placido Polanco before getting Sean Casey to foul out to shallow left and inducing All-Star Magglio Ordonez into a groundout.
The Tigers got the leadoff hitter on again in the fifth when Baker walked Carlos Guillen, but he would get no further as Ivan Rodriguez lined out and Craig Monroe grounded into a double play.
The Twins' best opportunities were in the second and third innings, when they put runners on first and second with two outs in each frame. But Bonderman would not be denied, forcing Nick Punto to ground out to end the second and striking out All-Star Justin Morneau to end the third.
"This was a heck of a baseball game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Both pitchers threw outstanding. We had some opportunities, but couldn't get anything done against Bonderman."
Prior to the game, both teams learned that they would have multiple players representing them next Tuesday in San Francisco at the All-Star Game.
The Tigers will send Polanco, Ordonez and Rodriguez as starters, and Carlos Guillen and Justin Verlander as reserves. The Twins will be represented by Torii Hunter and Johan Santana along with Morneau.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x 1 3 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: MIN - SCOTT BAKER AND JOE MAUER
DET - JEREMY BONDERMAN, TODD JONES (9TH) AND IVAN
HOME RUNS: MIN - NONE
DET - MARCUS THAMES (8) OFF SCOTT BAKER IN THE 8T
Jul 1 10:16 PM
AT DETROIT - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY MARCUS THAMES (8) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
THE 8TH OFF SCOTT BAKER.
CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0, DETROIT 1
DUE UP FOR DETROIT: B INGE (.253, 0-FOR-2)
Twins vs. TigersJul 1 10:10 PM
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