Series: Game 3 of 3

Minnesota won 3-0

Game 1: Monday, September 9
Detroit 2Final
Minnesota 5
Game 2: Tuesday, September 10
Detroit 4Final
Minnesota 11
Game 3: Wednesday, September 11
Detroit 2Final
Minnesota 8

Tigers 2

(52-94, 21-54 away)

Twins 8

(85-61, 49-26 home)

    1:05 PM ET, September 11, 2002

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    DET 000010001 2 - -
    MIN 26000000 - 8 - -

    W: B. Radke (8-4)

    L: M. Redman (8-15)

    Radke rolls as Twins creep closer to title

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins are getting closer, as is Brad Radke.

    Brad Radke

    Backed by a six-run second inning, Radke and the Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 8-2 Wednesday and lowered their magic number for clinching the AL Central to three.

    "His ball was jumpin','' manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's a good sign.''

    Continuing his comeback from a pulled groin that sidelined him for two months, Radke allowed only three hits and won for the fourth time in five starts -- needing only 79 pitches to get through seven innings. In his last two outings, Radke (8-4) has given up one run and nine hits in 16 innings.

    "The last couple starts have been pretty good,'' Radke said.

    Cristian Guzman had a homer and three RBI and Torii Hunter hit a three-run double to highlight the second inning against former teammate Mark Redman.

    George Lombard and Carlos Pena each homered for Detroit, which has lost 12 of 14.

    The Twins, improving to 41-19 against their division, begin a four-game series Thursday at Cleveland, which clinched the Central last year by beating the Twins at Jacobs Field.

    "It'd be nice to get it done there,'' Radke said. "They've given it to us the last couple years.''

    The start of the game, the first of 16 played in the majors this Sept. 11, was delayed 20 minutes for a ceremony honoring victims of the terrorist attacks and local police, firefighters and emergency responders.

    Patriotic songs were played on the organ between innings, replacing commercials, and most fans wore red, white and blue.

    "Singing the national anthem before the game means more to me than it ever did,'' said Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

    The Twins and Tigers were set to play in Detroit last Sept. 11, and they met at the Metrodome a week later when the major leagues resumed play after the attacks.

    Radke was the winning pitcher in that game, taking a no-hit bid into the eighth inning. On Wednesday, with an 8-0 lead after two innings, he was just as strong. It took Detroit eight batters took get a ball out of the infield, and Lombard's leadoff single in the first was the Tigers' first hit.

    Redman, who won 12 games as a rookie on a last-place Twins team in 2000, has pitched well in a pressure-free season with the struggling Tigers -- who have the AL's second-worst record. But his ERA jumped from 3.89 to 4.21 with an awful outing in which he threw only 31 of 63 pitches for strikes.

    After missing most of last season with a shoulder injury, Redman leads the staff with 203 innings. But he's got a dead arm, and the Tigers will decide this week whether to shut him down.

    "I want to make sure he's healthy,'' Detroit manager Luis Pujols said, "and that all those innings aren't getting to him.''

    Would he mind ending his season early?

    "If it's going to save me from injuring myself, then yes,'' Redman said. "But I have to talk it over first. I don't want to just give up. I never quit.''

    Jacque Jones drew a rare walk to lead off the game before Guzman's homer made it 2-0. The damage could have been greater, but Mientkiewicz grounded into a double play with runners on first and third to end the inning.

    Then the Twins sent 10 batters to the plate in the second. Guzman hit an RBI single, Corey Koskie walked to load the bases and LeCroy walked to force in a run. Then Hunter drove everybody in with a double to the wall in right-center that gave him 91 RBI, one shy of his career high.

    There was a bright spot for Detroit. Knuckleballer Steve Sparks, recently removed from the rotation after 28 starts, relieved Redman and gave up an RBI single to Mientkiewicz. That was the only hit Sparks allowed in 4 1-3 scoreless innings.

    Game notes

    Bobby Higginson, who went 0-for-3, was ejected by plate umpire Mike Winters. Higginson chucked his helmet and started yelling at Winters after grounding out to end the Tigers' sixth. Manager Luis Pujols said that Winters told Higginson he was going to fine him $100 for throwing the helmet, which incited Higginson. ... Redman, a first-round draft pick of the Twins out of Oklahoma, was traded to the Tigers for reliever Todd Jones last July. ... Minnesota, which matched last year's victory total with 85, is an AL best 49-26 at home. ... Radke is 12-4 against Detroit in his career, the most against any team he's faced.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press