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Twins take Game 1 of crucial DH with Tigers

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Delmon Young's sacrifice fly in the 10th inning proved to be the game-winner as the Minnesota Twins took a 3-2 win from the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a double-header and a crucial four-game set at Comerica Park.

In the 10th with Brandon Lyon (6-5) on the mound, Denard Span led off with a single and then moved to third on consecutive wild pitches by Lyon. Orlando Cabrera then singled to bring home Span. Joe Mauer walked and, after a sacrifice bunt from Carlos Gomez, an intentional walk to Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases. Young's deep fly ball to center then scored Cabrera for some insurance and a 3-1 lead.

Joe Nathan took the mound to close out the 10th and the extra run proved necessary as Curtis Granderson led off the frame with a shot into the right field stands. However, Nathan got consecutive line-outs from Placido Polanco and Ryan Raburn, then induced a game-ending groundout from Miguel Cabrera to seal the win.

"It just happens, sometimes that happens," said Lyon. "Obviously you don't want to do it, especially in that situation. Once it happens you try to pitch out of the situation but I didn't make the quality pitches I needed to tonight."

Span went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Cabrera also had an RBI and a run scored for the Twins, who have won an astonishing 12 of 14 to move just one game back of Detroit for the top spot in the AL Central with six to play.

"Just a heck of a baseball game," said Minnesota general manager Ron Gardenhire. "There was some good pitching on both sides and we finally broke through. We were able to scratch out a win there and like I've said it's playoff baseball."

Jon Rauch (4-1) got the win for pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Nick Blackburn started on the mound and gave up just one run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts over seven innings for Minnesota. Nathan earned his 45th save of the season, tying a club record set in 2002 by Eddie Guardado.

Ramon Santiago drove in Detroit's other run and starter Rick Porcello went 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout.

The Tigers have dropped three of their last four games on the heels of winning four straight.

The twinbill was necessary as Monday's opener was postponed due to heavy rain.

Detroit struck first in the second inning. Gerald Laird was hit by a pitch and moved to third on Brandon Inge's single, then easily came home on Santiago's sharp liner to first that knicked off the glove of Cuddyer.

The Tigers threatened to increase their lead in the third. Clete Thomas legged out a double to start the frame and Cabrera followed with a single. Aubrey Huff then hit a chopper to first and Cuddyer came home with the ball in time for Mauer to tag out Thomas. Carlos Guillen then struck out and Laird grounded out to end the frame.

After going down in order in the first, the Twins had a baserunner in each of the next three innings, but were unable to score.

However, in the fifth, Matt Tolbert led off with a double, moved to third on Nick Punto's sacrifice bunt and came home on Span's sacrifice fly to tie the game.

In the seventh Minnesota had men on first and second with one out. However, Zach Miner came on in relief and got Span to fly before striking out Cabrera.

Alexi Casilla led off the ninth with a double for the Twins and moved to third on Tolbert's sac bunt. Punto then attempted to lay down a bunt in a suicide squeeze attempt, but Lyon threw the pitch high, getting Punto to pop up as Lyon doubled off Casilla at third to escape the inning.

Game Notes

Minnesota has taken 10 of the 15 games against Detroit this season...Lyon had only one wild pitch on the season coming into the game...Granderson has 29 home runs on the season...Attendance was 35,243.
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