NOAH TRISTER,AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) — Joe Mauer provided the early power, and P.J. Walters gave Minnesota the start it needed on that mound.
Now the Twins can finally move on after an ugly 10-game losing streak.
Mauer homered and had three hits, and the Twins snapped their skid with a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday. Walters was solid in his first major league appearance of the season. He was called up from the minors before the game.
“It feels good to get out from under that 10-gamer,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the third inning. “We got out to a quick start, and then we had to hold on for a long time against a really good team. That’s not an easy lineup to shut down, but P.J. did a great job. He got us deep enough and then our bullpen finished it off.”
Mauer had already earned the ire of Detroit fans when he broke up Anibal Sanchez’s no-hit bid in the ninth inning Friday night. He was booed when came to bat in the first inning Saturday — then booed some more after his solo homer to right field.
The Twins scored three runs in the first, and that was enough. Walters (1-0) went six innings, allowing two runs and eight hits.
Mauer had two singles to go along with his homer.
“Mauer is Mauer,” Detroit catcher Brayan Pena said. “Sometimes you make great pitches to him, and he still can hit you.”
Four relievers finished for the Twins, with Glen Perkins pitching the ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.
Detroit’s Doug Fister (5-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. Jhonny Peralta homered for the Tigers.
Gardenhire was ejected while arguing a call in the third inning.
Mauer’s first-inning drive was ruled a homer, then reviewed because the ball bounced back into the field of play. A replay showed it hit the top of the wall in right, but may have also glanced off a railing above the wall. The call stood.
The Twins weren’t done. After being shut down in Sanchez’s one-hitter the previous evening, they broke through right away against Fister. Justin Morneau’s RBI double made it 2-0, and he came in to score on Chris Parmelee’s single.
Walters got out of a jam in the second when Andy Dirks struck out with the bases loaded.
The following inning, Gardenhire was ejected. The Twins had men on first and second with nobody out when Morneau hit a grounder to first baseman Prince Fielder. He threw to second, and the Tigers turned a double play — but Mauer, who had advanced to third on the play, was sent back to second because of an interference call. Josh Willingham had gone sliding into Peralta, the shortstop.
Gardenhire came out to argue and was thrown out of the game by second base umpire Joe West.
“His call was that he slid too close to the bag or something. He told me that he was protecting the defender, just like he had always protected me when I was playing,” Gardenhire said. “I said ‘Joe, I didn’t play that much.'”
Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first-inning single, but that was his only hit. Torii Hunter got the Tigers on the board in the fifth with an RBI double, but Cabrera struck out to end that inning.
Peralta made it a one-run game in the sixth with his fifth homer of the year.
“It was just location. I was able to keep the ball down on almost every pitch, and that’s huge against that lineup,” said Walters, who was making his first major league appearance of the season. “I got one pitch up to Torii, and I got another one up on the homer, but those were the only big mistakes.”
Twins center fielder Wilkin Ramirez left the game after a scary collision on a fly ball. Omar Infante lifted a fly to left-center in the sixth, and left fielder Willingham was under it when Ramirez came speeding over to try to make the play. Ramirez did catch the ball, holding onto it for the third out after colliding with Willingham.
Ramirez remained down on the ground well into the break between innings. He was finally able to walk off under his own power, but when he got back to the dugout, he appeared to be flexing his jaw.
NOTES: The Tigers honored their 1968 World Series-winning team before the game. … It was the 64th ejection of Gardenhire’s career and second this season. … Fister struck out seven and walked one. … Minnesota’s Chris Colabello had a sixth-inning single — his first major league hit. … Detroit’s Max Scherzer (6-0) takes the mound in Sunday’s series finale against Minnesota’s Mike Pelfrey (3-4).
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