MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- This is why the Minnesota Twins picked up
Kenny Rogers this spring.
Rogers, brought on board to fill in for the injured Eric Milton,
pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out nine batters
Thursday night to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 6-0 win over the
struggling Detroit Tigers.
"Kenny Rogers was fantastic,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire
said. "Just mowed 'em down. He was getting stronger as we went
Rogers used a variety of pitches to frustrate the Tigers, whose
starters came into the game hitting a combined .167 this season.
His nine strikeouts were one short of his career high. Rogers gave
up seven hits and no walks.
"The first three or four innings, I felt I was a little out of
my comfort zone,'' Rogers said. "I felt good, but I think the last
three innings were more indicative of how I can pitch.''
Bobby Kielty hit two solo home runs for the Twins and Corey
Koskie also had a solo shot. Torii Hunter went 2-for-3 with two
doubles and an RBI for Minnesota, which won its sixth in a row
after losing six straight.
Michael Cuddyer went 2-for-3 and scored two runs for the Twins,
who open a four-game homestand against the New York Yankees on
Kielty got his first homer off starter Jeremy Bonderman in the
second inning. His second solo shot came off Matt Anderson in the
eighth and made it 5-0.
Detroit, meanwhile, lost its fourth in a row and fell to 1-13,
the worst start in the majors since the Chicago Cubs opened 1997
with an 0-14 record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The
Tigers have dropped 15 straight to Minnesota _ the most games the
Tigers have lost to one opponent in the franchise's history.
"We need to get some wins,'' Detroit manager Alan Trammell
Minnesota's hitters beat up Bonderman for 10 hits in six
innings. He walked one, had one strikeout and threw a wild pitch.
Bonderman (0-3), who hadn't pitched above Single-A until this
season, struggled in his third major league start. Opposing batters
are hitting .411 against the 20-year-old, who has given up 15 runs
_ 14 earned _ this season and owns a miserable 10.22 ERA.
Still, Trammell was encouraged when Bonderman started settling
down in the fifth and sixth innings.
"He got better as the game went on,'' Trammell said.
Bonderman said: "I figured out, as you go, to relax out there
and I took a little off my pitches and let the movement come. ...
Sometimes, though, it's easier said than done.''
Detroit had seven hits off Rogers (2-0), but stranded seven
baserunners. Rogers is the only Twins starter without a loss. Tony
Fiore pitched a scoreless ninth in relief.
"I was curious to see how we'd do against a guy that throws 60
percent change-ups and he abused us,'' Trammell said.
The Tigers' best scoring chance came in the fifth, when Gene
Kingsdale followed Omar Infante's double with an infield single
with one out. But Rogers got Bobby Higginson swinging and Ramon
Santiago grounded out to end the threat.
"I think A.J. (Pierzynski) was comfortable calling anything,
and I was pretty comfortable with throwing whatever too,'' Rogers
Hunter came into the game hitting .137 with only one double and
three extra-base hits. His two-out double in the opening inning
scored Koskie from first base to put the Twins up 1-0. Koskie
reached when first baseman Carlos Pena couldn't handle Santiago's
throw from second on what would have been a double play to end the
Kielty and Koskie added homers in the second and third innings,
Cuddyer, who led off the fourth with a triple, scored from third
on a wild pitch by Bonderman in the fourth inning to put Minnesota
Jacque Jones added a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Game notes Detroit OF Dmitri Young was scratched from the lineup with
a sore right groin. He's listed as day-to-day. ... Pena got a
bizarre double in the first. His high, arching shot off Rogers sent
right fielder Cuddyer to the wall, but the ball hit off a speaker
on the Metrodome ceiling and fell into shallow right for the hit.
"Everyone thought it'd be a home run,'' Trammell said. "Wishful
thinking.'' ... Hiram Bocachica started in left field. ...Kielty,
normally a right fielder, shifted to centerfield and Hunter was the
designated hitter. ... The Tigers have given up 19 home runs this
season while hitting only four.