Twins still alive in AL Central race after Thursday's winMinnesota Sports - The Minnesota Twins head back to their final series in the Metrodome this weekend still with a shot at winning the AL Central.
DETROIT (Reuters) - The Minnesota Twins staved off elimination by beating the Detroit Tigers 8-3 on Thursday, denying Detroit an American League Central division title and celebration at Comerica Park.
Shortstop Orlando Cabrera cracked a three-run double and Scott Baker threw five solid innings to keep the Twins' hopes of reaching the post-season alive.
A Detroit win would have given the Tigers a four-game lead with three to play and clinched them the division crown.
Instead, Detroit leads Minnesota by two games heading into the final weekend of the regular season. The Tigers finish with three games at home against the Chicago White Sox, while the Twins host the Kansas City Royals for three.
"The bottom line was we won the baseball game, we're two back and we've got to go home and sweep and see what happens with the Tigers," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters.
Baker, who improved to 15-9, held Detroit to one unearned run over five innings, with the lone run coming in the second inning with the help of an error by left-fielder Delmon Young.
Minnesota erased the 1-0 deficit with three runs in the third inning off Detroit starter Nate Robertson (2-3). Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer stroked RBI-singles and Jason Kubel knocked in the third run with a sacrifice fly.
After adding another run in the fourth, Cabrera helped put the game out of reach with a bases-loaded, two-out double in the eighth inning.
The win gave Minnesota a 2-2 series split with Detroit.
The game ended on a sour note with both benches emptying after Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman hit Delmon Young in the right leg with a pitch to start the ninth.
Players rushed out from both benches and several Tigers were ejected from the game, while Young was seen yelling at team-mate Jose Mijares for provoking the incident after he had thrown a pitch behind Tigers shortstop Adam Everett in the eighth.
"We weren't as jubilant or excited as maybe we could have been or should have been," Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer said.
"I think looking back, we won. It's a big win, kept us in the race. But it definitely put a sour note in it."