MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- After Detroit's offense managed only one run for the second straight game, Jim Leyland struggled to explain his team's inability to consistently score.
"It almost looks like we think we are just going to come here, go up to home plate and things are going to happen," the manager said after the Tigers' 4-1 loss to Minnesota on Saturday night.When seeing names like Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera in the lineup, most people would think so, too.The Tigers' formidable lineup seemed to rediscover its swagger after scoring 20 runs in a three-game sweep over the New York Yankees. But it appears they left their swings back at Yankee Stadium.After another lackluster loss in Minnesota, Leyland hinted he might shake up his lineup, but offered no specifics."We've had a few games where we rolled and looked pretty good, and then for whatever reason, mysteriously, we are right back to the funk," he said.The Tigers could've used the bat of their old teammate, Craig Monroe.Monroe, starting in center in place of Carlos Gomez, hit a two-run homer off Justin Verlander and Brian Bass picked up his first major league win in relief of injured starter Scott Baker.Bass didn't flinch in the face of Detroit's sluggers, who harmlessly grounded out 11 times against Minnesota."Outstanding job," said Scott Ullger, Minnesota's acting manager while Ron Gardenhire attends his brother's funeral in Oklahoma. "He worked fast, threw strikes, kept the ball down."Bass (1-0) allowed three hits in four scoreless innings, Pat Neshek and Jesse Crain combined to work the eighth, and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 10th save in as many chances.Michael Cuddyer also drove in two runs for the Twins, who have won four straight.The teams play the final game of their three-game set on Sunday before the Tigers head home for a seven-game homestand against the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees.Curtis Granderson provided Detroit's lone highlight with his eighth-inning homer."That is the crazy thing about baseball," Granderson said. "You are going to go through cycles ... Sure enough, we are starting to struggle again."Verlander (1-5) continued his surprising struggles. He retired the first 10 batters, but ran into trouble in the fourth. Mike Lamb singled with one out, Joe Mauer doubled and Justin Morneau was intentionally walked to load the bases. Lamb scored on Cuddyer's groundout to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.Cuddyer singled in Lamb in the sixth and Monroe hit his second homer of the season after Verlander walked Delmon Young on four pitches with none out in the seventh.Afterward, Verlander -- who's 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA in three road starts -- stayed optimistic."I think you can look back on it and say I think I have pitched better than the stats show. I really do," he said.Leyland agreed."Overall, he pitched very well, gave us an excellent chance to win," he said. "But, our offense just sputtered again."Baker left after three innings with a right groin injury. It was the same injury that forced him to leave a start against Texas a week earlier.The right-hander was off to a strong start, retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced. Edgar Renteria led off the third with an infield single but Baker retired the next three batters before calling it a night. The team said he was removed as a precaution and would be evaluated on Sunday.
The Twins moved into first place in the AL Central for the first time since April 23 of last season. ... Gomez still had a headache after taking a throw to the head on Friday night while stealing second. Ullger said Gomez might also get Sunday off. ... Gardenhire could return to the Twins as early as Wednesday. ... Miguel Cabrera's 10-game hitting streak was snapped.