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Published: Monday, 5/26/2008

Twins bounce back; follow rout by topping Tigers

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Minnesota's Jason Kubel, right, celebrates his grand slam against Detroit with Carlos Gomez and Justin Morneau. Minnesota's Jason Kubel, right, celebrates his grand slam against Detroit with Carlos Gomez and Justin Morneau.
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DETROIT - Jason Kubel gave himself a perfect birthday present, and Glen Perkins gave Minnesota's bullpen a much-needed rest.

Kubel hit a tie-breaking grand slam with two outs in the eighth inning on his 26th birthday, and Perkins shut down Detroit's offense to help the Twins bounce back from an embarrassing loss with a 6-1 victory yesterday over the Tigers.

Blown out 19-3 on Saturday night, Minnesota recovered to take two of three in the series from its AL Central rival.

Carlos Guillen homered and finished with three hits for Detroit, which wasted a strong start by Justin Verlander.

Perkins (2-1) allowed a run and seven hits in 72/3 innings, walking two and striking out four in his fourth major league start. After the toll the lopsided loss took on the bullpen, he told manager Ron Gardenhire he would go as deep into yesterday's game as he could.

"It was important," Perkins said. "They got used earlier in the week, so you've got to try and save those guys."

The left-hander did more than that.

"He spotted the ball in well," Detroit's Brandon Inge said. "He was getting us conscious of looking on the inside part of the plate and then going away with the breaking stuff. There's not much you can do when he's spotting like that."

Matt Guerrier got the final out in the eighth and Joe Nathan worked a one-hit ninth.

Francisco Cruceta (0-2) relieved Verlander in the eighth and took the loss.

Carlos Gomez got Minnesota started in the eighth with a leadoff single against Cruceta. Alexi Casilla sacrificed and Joe Mauer was intentionally walked. Justin Morneau walked to load the bases before Michael Cuddyer struck out, and Kubel drove Cruceta's 3-1 pitch into the right-field stands for his sixth home run.

"I watched the other at-bats [against Cruceta] and saw he was throwing a lot of splitters," Kubel said. "Just told myself to lay off of them. Laid off into a good count and got the fastball I wanted."

It was Kubel's fourth career slam and second this season.

"My birthdays are usually no-hitters," said the designated hitter, who was 2-for-3 with a walk. "So to get the two today was pretty good."

With two outs in the ninth, Gomez walked, stole second and scored on Casilla's single to make it 6-1.

Kubel's shot spoiled a gritty effort by Verlander, who allowed a run and five hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out three while throwing 120 pitches.

"Verlander matched [Perkins]," Gardenhire said, "and was overpowering us a lot of times. He does that."

Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the second when Delmon Young bounced into a double play with runners on first and third.

Guillen's home run with one out in the bottom half tied it. It was his fifth of the season.

The Tigers are eight games under .500.

"We can't take leaps and bounds every day. We have to just crawl back into it. We can't worry about how far out we are," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.

The Tigers finished 4-2 on their homestand.



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