Laird’s HR in 13th lifts Tigers
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gerald Laird hit a solo home run in the 13th inning to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 10-9 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.
Ryan Raburn added three hits and two RBIs after entering the game in the sixth inning for the injured Miguel Cabrera and Jose Valverde (2-3) pitched a career-high three innings of relief to help the Tigers avoid a three-game sweep.
Laird, who entered the game in the 11th inning, hit a 1-1 pitch from Nick Blackburn (8-9) into the bullpen in left-center field.
Blackburn was scheduled to start the series opener against Texas on Friday night.
Danny Valencia had three hits and two RBIs for the Twins, who led 7-3 going into the eighth and 9-8 in the ninth only to let both leads slip away. They lead the White Sox by 3½ games in the AL Central.
The Tigers left 15 runners on base and the Twins 10 in a game full of missed opportunities at the plate and blunders in the field.
The Twins blew three chances at double plays, the normally reliable bullpen gave up four runs in the eighth inning and Jesse Crain blew a save when pressed into duty in the ninth for the ailing Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes in a sloppy, back-and-forth game.
Don Kelly’s solo homer in the second inning gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead and the Twins had to rush into their bullpen when Scott Baker left the game with pain in his right elbow after two innings.
Jeff Manship allowed one run and four hits in four innings of solid relief and the Twins took advantage of an error by Will Rhymes at second base to score three unearned runs in the fifth, getting the final one thanks to some fancy footwork by Delmon Young.
Jason Repko singled to right field with two outs and Young came around third trying to beat the throw from Brennan Boesch in right field. Boesch’s throw was right on the money, but Young danced around Alex Avila’s tag attempt to make it 6-3.
Valencia’s third hit of the game gave the Twins a 7-3 lead heading into the eighth, but their normally reliable bullpen and defense faltered.
Jhonny Peralta and Raburn hit back-to-back homers, shortstop J.J. Hardy committed a costly throwing error and Rhymes followed with a two-run single to make the score 7-7.
Alexi Casilla’s base hit gave the Twins an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the eighth, but Crain served up the first career homer to Casper Wells in the ninth to keep the game going.
Leading 9-8, Brandon Inge couldn’t handle a hot shot at third base from Michael Cuddyer and middle infielders Ramon Santiago and Rhymes ran into each other while trying to turn a double play to allow the Twins to tie the game.
Cabrera left the game with biceps tendinitis in his left shoulder and is listed as day-to-day.
NOTES: Detroit’s Austin Jackson had three hits, includng what appeared to be a homer in the second inning. Replays showed that the ball landed past the flower beds in left-center field and bounced back into the field. But after reviewing the play, the umpires ruled that it was not a homer and Jackson settled for a triple. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a call at second base. Crew chief Joe West ruled that Casilla dropped the ball. ... Jackson had three hits. ... Gardenhire said Jason Kubel’s wrist was still sore and would likely need a few more tests on Friday. Kubel was hit by a pitch on Tuesday.