Tigers Crush Twins 8-2

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The throw came zipping across the diamond, hitting the turf at the edge of the dirt and bouncing straight at first baseman Justin Morneau's face.
On another frustrating day at the ballpark, that was the only moment when the Twins were on target.
The surging Detroit Tigers used two RBIs each by Magglio Ordonez and Craig Monroe and an effective start by Chad Durbin to send Minnesota to its fourth straight defeat, 8-2 on Saturday.
Morneau broke his nose on that freakish eighth-inning sequence, when third baseman Nick Punto caught a line drive and tried to complete a double play. The league MVP's departure was a fitting punctuation on this lopsided loss for the Twins, 3-9 since beating the Tigers in Detroit on April 27 and 28.
"Just tops it all out," said Morneau, who had his nose reset and planned to play Sunday.
Since that last defeat to Minnesota two weeks ago, Detroit is 11-1. The defending AL champion Tigers have the league's best batting average in May, .326, after a slow start.
"Hitters are going to hit," Monroe said. "Sometimes it takes you the first month, sometimes it takes you two months, but if you continue to grind out your at-bats, you get to the numbers that you put up."
The Twins are hoping their patience will pay off, too.
"I don't think guys are pressing. I think guys are trying to grind it out to try to win ballgames, but it's just not happening," said Mike Redmond, who hit back-to-back RBI doubles with Jason Kubel in the sixth inning to account for Minnesota's runs.
That was all Durbin (3-1) allowed, though. He gave up seven hits and three walks in six innings, enjoying a big early lead.
"You just start pounding the zone and try to get guys to put it in play," Durbin said, "and get our guys in there to hit as quick as possible."
Monroe's two-run homer in the fifth against Glen Perkins gave Detroit an 8-0 lead after Sidney Ponson (2-5) posted his shortest of seven starts this season.
He missed the strike zone on seven of his first nine pitches, and the first four batters reached base. Singles by Gary Sheffield and Ordonez scored runs.
In the third inning, Ordonez singled to drive in Sheffield, who was on second after a low throw by shortstop Jason Bartlett skipped past Morneau for a two-base error.
Monroe started the rally in the fourth with a one-out single. After an RBI double by Mike Rabelo, two more runners crossed home on fielder's choice grounders. Brandon Inge scored on the first one, hit by Curtis Granderson to drawn-in second baseman Luis Castillo, when Redmond dropped the throw at home.
Ponson completed the inning, but that was it for him. He gave up six hits, six runs (five earned) and two walks.
Trying to revive his career, Ponson's spot in the rotation is tenuous. But the Twins have been having so many other problems that starting pitching isn't their current concern. They're last in the league in home runs, and the fundamentals the franchise has long depended on -- sound fielding and smart, aggressive baserunning -- have been scarce over the past few weeks.
"If it happens, it happens," Ponson said, when asked if he thought he was pitching for his job. "I'm not going to sit here and put more pressure on me."
Durbin, who allowed six runs in each of his first two appearances this season but has been better over the past two weeks, had no trouble pitching with his big lead.
After a leadoff walk by Castillo in the first, Lew Ford grounded into a double play. With the bases loaded in the second, Punto did the same and ended the inning.
The Twins dropped to 5-16 this year when scoring three or fewer runs. But the Tigers quickly dismissed their struggles, remembering well how Minnesota rallied from 12 1/2 games back last summer to win the AL Central on the final day of the regular season.
"They are a real good club, and they will break out of it sooner than a not-so-good club," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's the way it happens."


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