DETROIT (AP) -- Troy Percival saved at least 30 games in each of the last seven seasons.
This year, it took him almost a month to close out a win.In his eighth outing of the season, Percival pitched a perfect ninth inning for Detroit's first save and the Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 on Monday."I've never gone this long at the beginning of a season without a save, but I kept telling myself that today would be the day," said Percival, who the Tigers signed away from the Angels as a free agent to bolster their bullpen. "I had better stuff today than I have all year."The Tigers had blown all seven save opportunities before Percival struck out two of the three batters he faced. Detroit was the last team in the majors to record a save.The game was a make-up for the first of two games postponed by a spring snowstorm Saturday and Sunday. The attendance was announced at 14,976, but it looked like barely 1,000 showed up to Comerica Park to watch Jason Johnson face Brad Radke on a 50-degree day."It's always tough when you have a couple days off," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "But we played a crisp game."Justin Morneau gave the Twins a 4-3 lead in the seventh with a two-run double to left-center against Kyle Farnsworth, who couldn't hold a 3-2 lead after Johnson left with two outs and a man on in the seventh.But the Twins' bullpen failed Radke in the bottom of the seventh."This was not a very good game for us," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We took the lead, and then we kind of fell apart from there."After Carlos Guillen's single chased Radke, Juan Rincon (2-1) allowed a single by Rondell White and walked Dmitri Young to load the bases. Craig Monroe lined a RBI single to left, tying the game.Carlos Pena followed with what looked like a double-play grounder but beat the relay to first after second baseman Luis Rivas couldn't field the ball cleanly."I was running as fast as I could," Pena said. "It was a hard-hit ball right at the second baseman, so I was surprised to beat it out."The Tigers added a run in the eighth when Nook Logan stole third and scored when catcher Joe Mauer's throw went into left field.Seconds later, Ivan Rodriguez, who was on second after the throwing error, started toward Minnesota pitcher J.C. Romero after the two had words. Rodriguez was restrained as the benches emptied, but no punches were thrown. Romero was then taken out.Both players said they weren't sure what caused the argument."No idea," Romero said. "Go ask him."Several players said that Rodriguez had been yelling at Romero since being intentionally walked, but he denied that there was any trash talking involved."I'm not like that," Rodriguez said. "I respect every player in baseball, and I expect the same from them. I was trying to support him -- we are both from Puerto Rico -- and I don't know why he reacted like that."I think he was upset with the manager for walking. He wanted to pitch to me," he said.Farnsworth (1-0) got the win, despite allowing a run in 1/3 of an inning.The Tigers took a 3-0 lead in the first on a two-run homer by Guillen and a solo home run by Young.Minnesota came back with two in the third on a RBI by Nick Punto and Morneau off Johnson, who went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, three runs and four walks."I'm really comfortable right now," Johnson said. "I didn't get a win today, which is what you want, but the team won the game, and that's all that matters."Radke pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and four runs, and felt that the postponements on Saturday and Sunday might have hurt him."I didn't pick up a ball the last two days, and that didn't help matters," he said. "It was kind of tough all game.
Monday was Minnesota outfielder Jacque Jones' 30th birthday. ... Sunday's snow-out will be made up later in the season. ... The game-time temperature was 51 degrees, nearly 20 degrees higher than Saturday and Sunday.