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Homers lead Twins in battle of slumping teams

DETROIT (AP) -- For a brief moment Tuesday night, the Detroit
Tigers thought they had solved one of their biggest nemeses.

It didn't last.

Facing Minnesota's Brad Radke, the Tigers took a 1-0 lead when
Placido Polanco led off the first with a single and scored on
Brandon Inge's triple.

Radke then retired Chris Shelton, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Pena, leaving Inge stranded at third.

The Twins scored four runs in the second and three in the third
and went on to a 9-3 victory.

Radke (9-11) improved to 19-6 against Detroit in his career. He
allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings.

"The first inning was pretty important," Radke said. "Maybe
that got us going a bit. It was nice to see the guys put up some
crooked numbers."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn't surprised.

"That's what he can do very well," he said. "He knows how to
pitch with runners on base."

Minnesota has won two straight, both against Detroit, after
losing five of six, while the Tigers have lost 11 of 13.

"I sense some players have given in a little, and that's
unacceptable," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.

Trammell, whose team has struggled at the plate during its
recent skid, knew the Tigers were in trouble when Inge was left on
third.

"That's how things are going," he said. "Man on third, no one
out and we don't score."

Nate Robertson (6-14) gave up seven runs -- five earned -- and
seven hits in three innings. Robertson has lost his last four
starts with an ERA of 9.41 over that span.

"Every time I come to the park to pitch, I feel like this is
going to be the day that I turn this around," he said. "It just
hasn't happened."

Matthew LeCroy led off the second with a homer and Lew Ford
followed with a double. With one out, Mike Redmond hit an RBI
single, took second on Robertson's throwing error and scored when
Jason Bartlett's sharp grounder went through Inge's legs at third
base. After Shannon Stewart struck out, Juan Castro made it 4-1
with an RBI single.

"We came out and scored some runs and they made a couple
mistakes -- they missed a couple plays," Gardenhire said. "That
usually ends up killing you, and we banged the ball around on them
after that."

The Twins made it 7-1 in the third on Luis Rivas' three-run
homer, his first of the season.

"Nothing against Luis Rivas, but he's not a power hitter, and I
was shocked by that," Robertson said. "I was just staring at the
fence in disbelief."

Ivan Rodriguez cut the lead to 7-3 in the fourth with his 14th
homer, but Barlett capped the scoring in the eighth with a two-run
homer, his first since May 5.

"Guys are relaxed right now," Bartlett said. "We're just
pretty much going out there and swinging the bat."

Game notes
Redmond left the game in the third with an injured right
heel after beating out a single. He is listed as day-to-day. ...
Rivas last homered on Sept. 20, 2004, at Chicago. ... Detroit's
Dmitri Young (leg) was out of the starting lineup for the fifth
straight game. ... Radke needed only five pitches to retire the
Tigers in the seventh. ... Minnesota's three homers tied a season
high.