DETROIT (AP) — Joe Mauer drove in four runs and the Minnesota Twins rallied against Max Scherzer, handing the contending Detroit Tigers a 10-4 loss Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
The Tigers began the day one-half game behind the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox, who played later at the Los Angeles Angels.
After leaving his previous start with shoulder weakness, Scherzer (16-7) pitched five shutout innings with a fastball that topped out at 93 mph, a bit slower than usual. But he couldn’t get an out in the sixth, hurt by a dropped fly ball, and ended up allowing three runs.
Scott Diamond (12-8) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out five and improved his career ERA against the Tigers to 3.07 in four starts.
The Tigers led 2-0 early, with Miguel Cabrera hitting an RBI double and later scoring. But Detroit’s shaky defense helped the Twins scored five times in the sixth.
Ben Revere led off with a fly ball that left fielder Andy Dirks dropped just short of the wall. By the time Dirks could locate the ball, Revere was at third with what was ruled a triple.
Mauer pulled the Twins within 2-1 with an infield single, one of his three hits, and Josh Willingham doubled. Reliever Phil Coke got Justin Morneau to hit a fly to shallow left and Dirks got a late break, with ball dropping for a tying single.
Ryan Doumit walked to load the bases, and Trevor Plouffe made it 3-2 with a single on Brayan Villarreal’s first pitch.
The Twins then added a bizarre run when a third strike got away from Gerald Laird. Villarreal covered the plate, but stretched as if trying for a forceout instead of tagging Morneau. Villarreal only realized his mistake when plate umpire Tom Hallion singled safe. The fifth run scored when Pedro Florimon beat out an double-play replay.
Revere walked in the seventh, stole second, took third on Laird’s throwing error and scored when Dirks made a diving catch of Mauer’s foul fly to left. The Twins made it 8-2 on RBI singles by Eduardo Escobar and Revere in the eighth, and Mauer tripled later in the inning.
Avisail Garcia hit a two-run single in the Detroit ninth.
NOTES: Scherzer’s loss was his first since July 30. He is 10-2 in 16 starts since June 28. … After the first-game victory, the Twins are now 5-0 in day-night doubleheaders this season, having swept two against Kansas City earlier this season. … The first game drew a sellout crowd of 40,438, and the second game was expected to sell out as well. … With the game out of hand, Tigers manager Jim Leyland took out stars Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson after the eighth inning.
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