Morneau Homers, Twins Beat Tigers 4-3
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DETROIT (AP) — Justin Morneau hit a two-run homer in his second game back from a wrist injury, and the Minnesota Twins held on for a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
P.J. Walters (1-1) allowed four hits — including three solo homers — in 6 1-3 innings for the Twins, who swept the two-game series at Comerica Park. Minnesota (12-26) has won two in a row for only the second time this season.
Morneau’s homer off Doug Fister (0-2) opened the scoring in the third, and Trevor Plouffe followed with a long ball. Minnesota led 4-0 before the Tigers came back with homers by Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks and Prince Fielder.
Three relievers finished for the Twins, with Matt Capps pitching a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
Francisco Liriano came on with two on and one out in the seventh and got pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago to hit into a double play. Glen Perkins walked the first two Detroit hitters in the eighth on nine pitches, but he struck out Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young hit into a double play to end that inning.
The Tigers were hoping for a strong start from Fister after allowing 19 runs in their previous two games against the Twins and Chicago White Sox, but the Detroit right-hander was in trouble from the start.
Minnesota left the bases loaded in the first, and Fister got out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the second after he stepped toward third and threw back to first to catch Jamey Carroll off base for the second out of the inning.
With two outs in the third, Morneau and Plouffe hit back-to-back homers. It was Morneau’s fifth of the year and first since coming off the disabled list. He returned to the lineup Wednesday night after being on the DL since May 1 with a sore left wrist.
Fister, who missed most of April with a left side strain, hadn’t allowed a run at Comerica since Aug. 30.
Minnesota added a crucial run in the fifth after Fielder failed to catch Fister’s throw to first on Josh Willingham’s tapper. Willingham went all the way to third on the play, and Morneau drove him home with a groundball.
Boesch’s homer in the bottom of the inning was Detroit’s first hit off Walters. Dirks and Fielder added solo shots of their own in the sixth.
NOTES: Boesch extended his hitting streak to 10 games. … Detroit RHP Luis Marte (left hamstring strain) has been assigned to Class A Lakeland as part of an injury rehabilitation assignment. … Detroit sends Justin Verlander (4-1) to the mound Friday to start a three-game series against Pittsburgh. Charlie Morton (2-3) starts for the Pirates. … The Twins are at Milwaukee. Scott Diamond (2-0) will start for Minnesota on Friday against Marco Estrada (0-2).
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