MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Delmon Young had three RBI singles in his return to Target Field and Victor Martinez knocked in four runs to lead the Detroit Tigers to an 8-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Miguel Cabrera had three hits in his first game after being reinstated from the paternity list in support of Rick Porcello, who pitched 6 1-3 innings. Detroit (72-59) remained 6 1/2 games ahead of second place Cleveland (64-64) in the AL Central.
Porcello (12-8) snapped a string of back-to-back losses, giving up just the one run on seven hits, while walking three and striking out four.
Scott Diamond (0-2) allowed five runs on 11 hits in his second major league start for the Twins, who lost their sixth straight game — all at home.
Two teams that typically battle for the AL Central crown have been on different paths the past month.
Minnesota turned into the unusual position of sellers this month after a 5-18 August pushed them from seven games back of Detroit to 16 heading into this series. Young was sent to Detroit in a package which included reliever Lester Oliveros and Class-A pitcher Cole Nelson.
The Twins then traded slugger Jim Thome, who recently hit his 600th career homer, to the Indians on Thursday. Minnesota was also without Joe Mauer, who is nursing a neck injury, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who is still bothered by back spasms.
Without them, Minnesota had trouble putting anything together against the previously struggling Porcello.
With the bases loaded and no outs, the Twins’ Matt Tolbert bounced back to the pitcher for a 1-2-3 double play. Drew Butera then poked an RBI single into right for the first run of the game, but the rally ended when Ben Revere hit a bouncer to shortstop and was called out on the throw, although replays showed he was safe.
The missed call just adds to the offensive woes for Minnesota, which has scored one run or less in each of the past six games.
Meanwhile, the Tigers are taking control of the Central.
Detroit’s lead had slipped to 1 1/2 games on Aug. 18. Since then, the Tigers have won seven of their past eight to open the lead to 6 1/2 games over the Indians.
Porcello hadn’t been a part of the recent success, though. The right-hander had allowed 17 runs in his last 13 1-3 innings, losing his last two decisions.
Young had RBI singles in the third and seventh innings on infield hits. He added his final blow with a liner to center in the eighth.
NOTES: Nishioka was a late scratch from the lineup after Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire witnessed him having trouble throwing during pregame warmups. Nishioka has missed the past five games and could miss a couple more, according to Gardenhire. … Mauer was feeling better after missing the past two games with neck soreness, and was available off the bench if needed. … A day after trading Thome to Cleveland, the Twins stuck with their planned giveaway and passed out 10,000 Thome mini wind-up walkers. … Detroit has won 14 of the past 16 games between the two teams. … Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (19-5) takes the mound for Saturday’s afternoon game having won five straight starts. Verlander is 9-7 all-time against the Twins with a 3.41 ERA, but is 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA in two starts this season. Manager Jim Leyland said Verlander would get an extra day of rest between tomorrow’s start and his next start on Sept. 2. … Right-hander Carl Pavano (6-10) makes his 27th start of the year for the Twins. He is 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA against Detroit this season. He’s lost his last four decisions, but does have a 3.20 ERA in four August starts, going 0-2 in that time.
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