MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Before their series against Minnesota,
Detroit's Dmitri Young said the race for the AL Central would come
down to his Tigers and Cleveland.
The three-time division champions clearly have other ideas.
Brad Radke finally gave Minnesota what it was expecting from him
with six strong innings and the Twins broke the game open with a
big sixth inning to complete a three-game sweep of Detroit with a
10-4 victory on Thursday night.
"It was nice to get a sweep," Radke said. "Especially with
Dmitri talking a little out there."
Once again, Radke struggled in the first, allowing two runs on
an RBI-single by Young and a sacrifice fly by Rondell White.
Radke (1-2) retired 11 straight after Young's single and allowed
three hits and one run after that to get his first victory of the
season and hand the Tigers their fourth straight loss.
Radke had a rough first two starts, going 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA.
But after a tough first inning, he settled down and held the Tigers
in check for six innings, allowing three runs and six hits.
"It was good to get some runs on the board," Radke said.
"It's fun to pitch when that happens."
Tigers starter Nate Robertson (0-1) struggled. After a stellar
debut against Cleveland in which he allowed one earned run and five
hits in seven innings of a no-decision, Robertson gave up six runs,
four earned, walked five and hit two batters in five innings
against the Twins.
The Tigers got sloppy in the third inning, when two errors and a
hit batter led to three runs. Torii Hunter led off the inning with
a double and scored when Tigers second baseman Omar Infante tried
to turn a double play on a grounder by Jones. Infante's throw went
into left field, and Ford advanced to third and Jones to second.
Redmond followed with another RBI single to score Ford, and
right fielder Marcus Thames bobbled the ball, allowing Jones to
score from second to make it 5-2.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Tigers manager Alan Trammell
said. "It was not a good effort tonight. Nine walks and two hit
batsmen -- that's a formula for a loss."
The Twins had all the answers, save for a little fireworks in
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected for the first time this
season and 16th time in his career in the fifth inning for arguing
after home plate umpire Ed Hickox warned Radke after hitting Thames
with a pitch.
After giving up a single to Craig Monroe, Radke plunked Thames
in the belt. Hickox immediately warned Radke and both dugouts that
another hit batter would warrant an ejection.
Gardenhire sprinted out of the dugout, apparently upset that
Hickox did not warn Robertson after he hit Ford and Shannon Stewart
and nearly hit Rivas in separate innings.
"I told him I thought that was wrong and Eddie had to do what
he had to do," Gardenhire said. "Nothing against him, he's a good
umpire. ... But I just can't handle those warnings. If I get thrown
out 10 times this year, I bet nine will be because of those
warnings and the 10th will be because I think we're (playing
poorly) that night and I don't want to watch it."
White hit a solo homer in the eighth and was 1-for-3 with two
RBI, but the Tigers showed they still have a long way to go before
they are ready to compete with the Twins for the division.
The Twins have won nine straight over the Tigers and are 59-19
against them since 2001.
"They humbled us," said Young, who went 2-for-4. "We
definitely wanted to show them this was a different team.
Unfortunately they beat us the way they've been beating us.
"It's not a 16-game season. This isn't football. We definitely
have time to redeem ourselves."
Monroe made an outstanding play in the fifth, robbing
Matthew LeCroy of a homer when he leaped over the center field wall
to catch the ball. ... The Twins will play 11 of their next 13
games on the road, all against AL Central opponents. ... Ford
started in center field while Hunter, a Gold Glover, was the DH.
Gardenhire said he made the decision to get Ford some playing time
in the field.