JIM MONE / AP Enlarge
JIM MONE / AP Enlarge
MINNEAPOLIS - There was no way Joel Zumaya was going to disappoint Todd Jones and the rest of his teammates.
Zumaya got five outs for his first save in more than a year, and Curtis Granderson's go-ahead RBI single capped Detroit's two-run eighth inning as the Tigers rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins 5-4 last night.
"Jonesy came in and tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'Hey, we need you tonight,'•" Zumaya said. "I'm not going to let the guy down that taught me all this stuff, who took the time to teach me about the bullpen, and be a closer in the future. He needed a day off and I knew I was the one that would get thrown in the fire if we were winning."
Granderson's single to right-center fell two steps in front of Carlos Gomez, allowing Matt Joyce to trot home from third and helping Detroit win its sixth straight.
Joyce, recalled from the Mud Hens on Sunday, tripled one batter earlier to score Gary Sheffield with the tying run.
"These come-from-behind wins really get us going," said Casey Fossum (1-0), who pitched 11/3 innings of scoreless relief. "We know at any point this offense can unleash some runs."
The Twins almost did that at the end.
Minnesota had runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth against Zumaya, but Alexi Casilla flied out and Joe Mauer grounded out.
"I knew once I got those guys on base I was going to face probably the heart of their lineup. My goal was just getting big outs," said Zumaya, who earned his first save since April 12, 2007 at Toronto.
The appearance was the hard-throwing Zumaya's fifth of the year. He didn't play until June 20 as he recovered from right shoulder surgery.
"I just told him one pitch at a time," manager Jim Leyland said.
Matt Guerrier (4-3) took the loss as the normally reliable Twins bullpen failed to hold a lead. After not allowing an earned run in 241/3 innings since June 18, Minnesota relievers gave up three to the Tigers.
Minnesota led 4-1 before Placido Polanco and Carlos Guillen had RBI singles off Jesse Crain and Dennys Reyes in the seventh.
Minnesota spent the previous two weeks beating up on Milwaukee, Washington, Arizona and San Diego - going 13-2 in its previous 15 games, including 9-1 in its last 10. Since being 12 games under .500 on June 7, Detroit had won 17 of 21 before last night.
The intensity was high from the get-go, with Guillen looking down Minnesota starter Glen Perkins in the first inning after he deemed a pitch was thrown high and inside.
Perkins, who struck out a career-high seven in 61/3 innings, said there was no negative intent: "I don't want to leave the ball over the plate and it was one that just got away from me. I definitely don't want to be known as that kind of guy."
Manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the third inning after Mauer was almost hit twice by pitches from Detroit starter Armando Galarraga.
"I think everybody saw what happened," Gardenhire said. "Let's just leave that alone. I don't want to get in trouble. I get fined every time that happens."
The Tigers starter threw behind Mauer, who's hitting .321. The next pitch was inside, forcing Mauer to jump back. Plate umpire James Hoye immediately warned both benches, and Gardenhire came out to argue.
"It's a division game. They're all going to be like that. They're right behind us and obviously it's going to be pretty intense out there," Mauer said.