DETROIT (AP) – J.D. Martinez’s ninth-inning sacrifice fly scored Torii Hunter with the winning run and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 Sunday.
Hunter led off the ninth with a single off Casey Fein (3-3), and Miguel Cabrera rifled a line drive that almost knocked over shortstop Dany Santana as he made a leaping catch.
Victor Martinez then hit a fly ball to the right-field wall, and Oswaldo Arcia dropped it for an error. That put runners on the corners, and J.D. Martinez followed with a fly to medium-depth center. Hunter never hesitated, and scored easily when Sam Fuld’s throw was badly off line.
Joe Nathan (3-2) pitched a scoreless ninth.
Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings, while Detroit’s Rick Porcello pitched seven, also giving up three runs.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to a defensive mistake by Arcia. With a runner on third and two out, Arcia, who has struggled defensively all series, lost a routine flyball in the sun to give Victor Martinez an easy RBI double.
In the second, it was Josh Willingham who misplayed Austin Jackson’s liner into the left-field corner, turning a probable double into a stand-up triple. Nick Castellanos followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
The Twins took the lead with three runs in the sixth. Doubles by Joe Mauer and Willingham provided the first run, and Kendrys Morales bringing home the second with a base hit.
After a walk to Arcia, Kurt Suzuki lined a single to left, and Minnesota third-base coach Joe Vavra stunned all 41,462 fans by waving the plodding Morales around third. J.D. Martinez’s throw had the runner beat by 15 feet, but Alex Avila couldn’t handle it, allowing the run to score.
Ricky Nolasco, though, couldn’t hold the lead. In the bottom of the inning, Nick Castellanos doubled in the tying run, and Nolasco intentionally walked Alex Avila to load the bases with one. It was a risky move, since rookie Eugenio Suarez had three extra-base hits on Saturday, but Jared Burton came out of the bullpen to induce an infield fly. Burton then retired Ian Kinsler to end the inning, with the score tied at three.
The Tigers threatened again in the seventh after walks to Cabrera and Victor Martinez, but Matt Guerrier got them out of the jam.
Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan allowed two runners in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively,
NOTES: Both teams made roster moves before the game. The Tigers called up LHP Blaine Hardy from Triple-A Toledo to serve as the long man in a struggling bullpen, and sent rookie RHP Corey Knebel back to the Mud Hens. The Twins placed Trevor Plouffe on the 15-day disabled list with the oblique strain he sustained in Saturday’s loss, and called up Pedro Florimon from Triple-A Rochester.
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