<
>

Reliever-turned-starter three-hits Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Gary Knotts tied the Twins up for nearly
eight innings to secure the victory -- and his spot in Detroit's
starting rotation.

Knotts pitched three-hit ball into the eighth and Craig Monroe
drove in four runs, leading the Tigers over Minnesota 6-0 Saturday.

"I'm just going out there and pitching like every start is my
last," Knotts said after his longest outing of the season. "When
I got switched from the bullpen, I just said to myself, 'one start
at a time.' "

Knotts (3-1) made nine relief appearances before making the
first of his five starts on May 14. Since then, he is 3-1 with a
2.89 ERA and doesn't look as though he'll be back in the bullpen anytime
soon.

"He's one of the starters, and he's earned that," manager Alan
Trammell said. "I'm happy for him, and we can build on this."

Ivan Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with four singles, and Carlos Guillen and Carlos Pena each homered for Detroit, which snapped a
two-game losing skid. Steve Colyer and Ugueth Urbina finished the
three-hitter, the Tigers' fourth shutout of the season.

Matthew LeCroy had two of the three hits for the Twins, who have
lost 11 of their last 16 games. It was the third time Minnesota has
been shut out.

"Last night was a big win, and I thought we might turn it
around [today] but [Knotts] pitched a pretty good game," LeCroy
said.

"We'd been winning with injuries, and all of a sudden we've hit
a brick wall," Jacque Jones added.

Knotts held Minnesota hitless until Lew Ford doubled with one
out in the third inning. But, Ford was stranded at third.

Knotts struck out two and walked four in 7 2/3 innings; Colyer
got one out in the eighth; and Urbina pitched the ninth.

"We're just not clicking on the ball consistently," manager
Ron Gardenhire said after his team stranded seven runners. "It's a
matter of breaking out of this little funk."

Seth Greisinger (2-5), making his first start against his former
team, allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck
out five and walked one.

Pena hit a 424-foot solo home run off Greisinger with two outs
in the second inning to give the Tigers the early lead. It was
Pena's ninth homer of the season.

Guillen hit a solo shot in the third, also with two outs, for
his eighth homer. The Tigers tried to add to the lead in the
inning, but Rodriguez was thrown out at home by left-fielder Ford
trying to score from second on a single.

Detroit scored twice in the sixth to extend its lead to 4-0.
Guillen led off with a double and moved to third on Rodriguez's
third single of the game. After a fielder's choice and walk loaded
the bases, Monroe hit a two-RBI single off Greisinger.

Monroe added a two-run single off Joe Roa in the eighth to make
it 6-0.

"Both of those hits were big for me, I'll be honest," Monroe
said. "I really needed to buckle down. Today was a great day for
us to build off of."

Game notes
The Twins have scored only seven runs in their last four
games and have only 20 hits in that span. ... Greisinger was a
first-round draft pick of the Tigers in 1996. ... LeCroy, the
slowest runner on the Twins, had his third infield hit in three
days. ... Twins starters have only four wins in their last 18
starts. ... The Tigers have at least one extra-base hit in each of
the last 22 games. ... Rodriguez is hitting .560 (14-for-25) during
a current six-game hitting streak. He also had four hits against
the Twins earlier this season at the Metrodome.