MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins have been in dire need of
a "smell 'em" game.
The M&M Boys delivered just that on Friday night, moving the
Twins one step closer to Detroit in the AL Central.
Torii Hunter added two hits and two RBI and Mauer raised his
league-leading average to .348 for the Twins, who entered the night
having scored more than two runs just twice in their last 11 games.
"That was a 'smell 'em' game if there ever was one," Twins
cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer said.
"Smell 'em" has become the team motto this season. Backup
catcher Mike Redmond coined the phrase, saying they have to "smell
those RBI" when they see runners in scoring position in key
situations. They playfully tap their noses when they come through,
and there was plenty of nose-tapping on Friday night.
"The 'smell 'ems' were out again tonight," hitting coach Joe
Vavra said. "That's the good feeling we were missing."
Magglio Ordonez had three hits and four RBI for Detroit, which
took the series opener on Thursday night, but then watched the
Twins score seven runs on six hits and four walks in the fifth and
sixth innings to break Game 2 open.
Mauer's third single of the game started a three-run fifth
inning that included a two-run double by Morneau. Mauer came into
the game just 6-for-37 to drop into a virtual tie with New York's
Derek Jeter for the AL batting lead.
Minnesota scored four more in the sixth, thanks to three two-out
walks by Tigers reliever Andrew Miller and an error by third
baseman Brandon Inge.
Hunter started the scoring when he beat out an infield single
with the bases loaded, allowing Mauer to score from third.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland vehemently argued the close play at
first, and Rondell White followed with a line drive off Inge's
glove. The error allowed two more runs to score and Phil Nevin
finished off the rally with an RBI-double that gave the Twins a 9-4
"It would've been nice to win tonight, but I certainly didn't
do my part," Miller said.
Pat Neshek (4-1) threw 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief to back
rookie starter Matt Garza and give the Twins a much-needed win in a
hotly contested AL playoff race. The Twins lead the White Sox by a
half-game in the AL wild-card race.
The Tigers left 10 runners on base, including four in scoring
position, and let two leads slip away.
"We had a little something going there but the kiss of death is
we get two, we give up two," Leyland said. "We get two more, we
give up three. That usually spells a loss, and that's what
Detroit jumped ahead 2-0 in the third on a two-run double by
Ordonez off Twins starter Matt Garza.
Cuddyer and Morneau had run-scoring singles in the bottom of the
inning to tie the game, and the Tigers again took the lead in the
With his pitch count climbing thanks to four walks, the Tigers
started to hit a tiring Garza hard in the fifth. Craig Monroe
doubled home Ivan Rodriguez and scored on a sharp single by Ordonez
for a 4-2 lead.
That was it for Garza, who gave up four runs and five hits while
striking out six and walking four in 4 1-3 innings.
Once again, the Twins had an answer. Morneau's two-run double
off Tigers starter Wilfredo Ledezma tied the game and Hunter's
single scooted past a drawn-in infield to make it 5-4.
Ledezma (2-3) lasted just 4 1-3 innings, giving up five runs and
Morneau and Mauer were both unavailable for comment after the
"You've got to be able to at least contain them," Leyland
said. "You're not going to control them totally, but you've got to
be able to control them a little bit. They showed tonight why
they're both great hitters."
After INF Don Kelly cleared waivers on Friday, the Tigers
sent him outright to Double-A Erie. ... Nevin entered the game
1-for-10 in a Twins uniform. He was generously awarded a single in
the fourth inning when a hard-hit grounder got past Inge.