Robertson outduels Garza in Tigers' winJul 18, 2007 - 4:10 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Magglio Ordonez took advantage of Jason Bartlett's error and Nate Robertson outdueled Matt Garza as the Detroit Tigers edged the Minnesota Twins, 1-0, on Tuesday.
Ordonez's single with two outs in the sixth inning plated Brandon Inge, who reached to start the frame when Minnesota shortstop Bartlett could not handle his ground ball.
One run was enough for Robertson (6-6), who pitched seven scoreless innings as Detroit took the first of a three-game series from Minnesota, increasing its lead in the American League Central to seven games over last season's division champion.
"I don't put much stock in it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We won one ballgame. It was 1-0, a great ballgame. At the end (of the season), we know they will be right there. Hopefully, we'll be there, too."
After five innings of scoreless, two-hit ball from both starters, Garza (1-1) looked to retire his eighth straight Tiger for the second time in the game when he started off the sixth against Inge.
Garza induced a ground ball right at Bartlett, who failed to play it cleanly, allowing Inge to reach. It was Bartlett's 16th error of the season, tying him for the third-highest total in the major leagues.
"(Bartlett) plays great defense," Garza said. "The ball got on him. Inge hit the ball hard. You can't tell Barty anything, he picked me up all night.
"You can't tell a guy like that anything. He's playing hard and stuff happens. I could have given up a home run on a mistake pitch, and is someone going to tell me something? No. Everyone is out there playing their butt off."
After walking Curtis Granderson, Garza got Placido Polanco to pop up a sacrifice attempt and Gary Sheffield flied out to left for the second out. Garza then got ahead of Ordonez 0-2, but the major league batting leader hit Garza's next pitch past a diving Nick Punto at third, allowing Inge to score from second.
The run was unearned, keeping Garza's ERA at 0.00 in 15 innings this season.
"He gave up one hit, one unearned run," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just missed a play, and that ends up killing you. It always does - it comes back to get you."
Despite his recent struggles, Robertson matched Garza's effectiveness. After holding Minnesota to three runs and five hits in seven innings on April 27 in Detroit, Robertson turned in his longest outing since that performance - a span of 11 starts.
He held the Twins to just three hits while leaving a game without giving up an earned run for just the second time this season.
Entering Tuesday's contest, Robertson had made it through six innings just once in his previous nine starts and had a 5.47 ERA with opponents batting .340 against him on the road. The Tigers had won just once in Robertson's previous six outings, and he allowed less than three runs just once during that stretch.
"I pride myself on going deep into ballgames. That's our job," Robertson said. "I want to go out there and be effective deep into the ballgame and be efficient, too. I feel like I'm on the right track."
The Detroit lefthander allowed just two hits and a walk through five innings on Tuesday and erased Joe Mauer's leadoff single in the fourth, striking out Michael Cuddyer as Mauer was thrown out stealing. Justin Morneau followed with a deep fly ball to center field, but Granderson made the catch against the wall.
The Twins threatened again in the sixth inning, when Luis Castillo hit a one-out single and Bartlett followed with a walk. But Robertson struck out Mauer - all three strikes looking - and Cuddyer to end the threat.
"You can't strike out any tougher tandem right there," Robertson said. "To get out of that situation with Mauer and Cuddyer, that was big."
Detroit failed to capitalize with two on and none out in the eighth inning against reliever Matt Guerrier. But Tigers lefthander Macay McBride worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth inning and Todd Jones tossed a scoreless ninth for his 24th save in 28 chances to seal the victory.
The loss prevented Minnesota from tying its season-high winning streak at five games, while Detroit won for the eighth time in its last 10 contests.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
DETROIT 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 5 0
MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: DET - NATE ROBERTSON, MACAY MCBRIDE (8TH), TODD JONES (9TH) AND IVAN
MIN - MATT GARZA, MATT GUERRIER (8TH), PAT NESHEK (9TH)
AND JOE MAUER
HOME RUNS: D
Jul 17 10:51 PM
AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY MAGGLIO ORDONEZ SCORED BRANDON INGE.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M ORDONEZ ON FIRST, C GRANDERSON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 6TH
DUE UP FOR DETROIT: C GUILLEN (.314, 0-FOR-2)
Tigers vs. TwinsJul 17 9:39 PM
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