Cuddyer, Ford help Twins cage Tigers to take 2-0 series lead

" Grinding: Detroit has lost four of its last five including a 10-run loss on Friday.

" Figure this: Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-4, snapping his 15-game hitting streak.

" Quotable: "A couple of good ballgames for us to start the [11-game] road trip." -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire

-- ESPN.com news services

Twins 8, Tigers 5

DETROIT (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins' simple approach at the plate made life easier for Kevin Slowey.

Michael Cuddyer and Lew Ford homered and drove in three runs apiece to help Slowey and the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 8-5 Saturday.

"Guys are walking, guys are getting in hitters' counts," said Cuddyer, whose team has scored 27 runs in its last three games. "We're getting in counts where we can afford to be aggressive."

Cuddyer hit a three-run homer, went 2-for-3 and scored two runs. Ford hit a two-run drive and a run-scoring double.

Minnesota has won the first two games of the weekend series between the AL Central rivals.

"A couple of good ballgames for us to start the [11-game] road trip," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames, and Ivan Rodriguez homered for the Tigers, who have lost four of their last five.

"They've got a real good team," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of the Twins. "If you let the table setters get on, they're real dangerous."

Slowey (3-0) outpitched fellow rookie Andrew Miller to get the win. Slowey gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings, struck out two and walked one.

"To get big hits makes it more comfortable out there," Slowey said. "It's a lot easier to pitch up three, four runs."

The Twins supported the 23-year-old right-hander with several solid defensive plays. Third baseman Nick Punto made diving stops on grounders by Craig Monroe in the second and Magglio Ordonez in the fifth. Center fielder Torii Hunter took a hit away from Sean Casey in the fifth with a diving catch.

Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

Miller (3-2) gave up six runs, five earned, and six hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked two.

"I've got to start going deeper into games," said Miller, who hasn't lasted more than six innings in five major league starts this season. "At the same time, if you lose one or lose two, if you're starting to have kind of a rough time, of course you want to be the guy to go out and win a game. I didn't do that today."

Carlos Guillen's two-out RBI single in the first gave Detroit a 1-0 lead but Minnesota tied it in the second. Cuddyer led off with a triple and Justin Morneau followed with a run-scoring single.

Jason Bartlett doubled in a run in the third and Ford had a run-scoring double in the fourth to make it 3-1.

The Tigers threatened in the fourth when singles by Guillen and Monroe gave them runners on first and second with one out. But Slowey then retired Thames and Omar Infante on lazy fly balls.

Cuddyer's three-run homer in the sixth made it 6-1. Bartlett wound up on second after a one-out error by Infante and then stole third. Joe Mauer walked and Cuddyer drove Miller's first pitch over the fence in left-center for his ninth of the season.

"First pitch fastball. Just looking for a pitch to get the man in from third," Cuddyer said. "Not necessarily [looking] for a fastball, but a pitch I could drive."

Miller said it was a "stupid pitch."

"I definitely wish I could have it back, wish I could have thrown anything else," he said.

Granderson hit his 11th homer in the fifth but Ford's two-run drive in the sixth stretched the Twins' lead to 8-2.

Game notes
Detroit designated hitter Gary Sheffield served the first game of a two-game suspension on Saturday. Sheffield was ejected May 31 at Cleveland for arguing balls and strikes. Thames replaced Sheffield at DH. ... Bartlett went 2-for-5 to stretch his career-high hitting streak to 11 games. He also stole his 16th base in 16 opportunities this season. ... Monroe's fourth-inning single broke an 0-for-17 slump. ... Ordonez went 0-for-4, snapping his 15-game hitting streak.