DETROIT - Ron Gardenhire had been cringing all week when he looked at the numbers hanging next to the Detroit Tigers on the out-of-town scoreboard.
For one night, though, his Minnesota Twins were able to keep Detroit's hot-and-cold
offense on the rocks.
After scoring 30 runs in three games against Seattle, the Tigers were shut out for six innings by Kevin Slowey, and Minnesota hung on for a 9-4 victory.
"After seeing them score something like 40 runs in the last couple days, it's just good to survive the first game here," Gardenhire said. "Slowey was great. We've seen him throw some good games, but this is certainly the best performance he's had against a team like that."
Slowey allowed four hits and three walks in six-plus innings for his first win since Sept. 23.
"They've got a great offense, but so does every team in baseball," he said. "Some teams just have more guys you hear about, and the Tigers are all guys you hear about."
Mike Lamb homered, tripled and scored four runs for Minnesota.
"That was a great night, but I'm going to be sore in the morning," Lamb said.
"I'm not used to that much running."
Dontrelle Willis returned from a stint on the disabled list with a knee injury to toss an inning of relief for the Tigers, but otherwise it was another woeful night for one of the majors' most disappointing teams.
The last-place Tigers had scored 14 runs in their previous seven games before clobbering the Mariners, but Slowey pushed them right back into their slump.
"I say it all the time - momentum is only as good as your next day's pitcher," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Slowey pitched good and our guy didn't."
Detroit's Armando Galarraga (3-2) struggled with his control for the second straight start, walking five batters while giving up five runs in six innings.
"It was a tough night," he said. "I didn't command my sinker like I was a couple starts ago, and I think that's the key."
Willis replaced Galarraga in his first appearance since April 11. He allowed one run on a hit and two walks in one-plus
"After being off for so long, I was happy to get a rhythm and get some outs," Willis said.
Galarraga escaped after walking two in the first, but the Twins scored three in the second.
Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no one out, and Brendan Harris hit an RBI groundout before Carlos
Gomez and Joe Mauer added RBI singles.
Michael Cuddyer's run-scoring single put the Twins ahead 4-0 in the fifth before Lamb hit his first homer in the sixth.
Detroit had its best chance in the sixth, putting runners on second and third with two out, but Carlos Guillen grounded out.
As the Tigers took the field for the seventh, Leyland got into an animated argument with third-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt, apparently about a called strike on Guillen, and was ejected. Leyland declined comment on the incident after the game.
Ivan Rodriguez's two-run triple off Dennys Reyes made it 5-2 in the seventh, and Marcus Thames added an RBI double, but was out after sliding past the base.
Thames broke for third base, but was chased down by second baseman Alexi Casilla. Casilla dropped the ball when making the tag, but Thames didn't realize it and headed for the dugout. He was then tagged a second time by Casilla in foul territory.
"I slid a bit too late, and then crap happened," Thames said. "I was hustling, and I kind of screwed up."
The bizarre play cost the
Tigers a run when Gary Sheffield homered two batters later.
"I was just happy he kept running," Gardenhire said.