The Tigers defeated the Twins in Minnesota 7-5 tonight to move into first place. They beat the Twins at their own game. Austin Jackson and Ramon Santiago were peppering infield hits all night long. Santiago forced a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. They stole two bases. One of the worst hitters in the league this year - Gerald Laird - got a clutch home run in the eighth inning. They did everything that the Twins have been doing to them for years.
The Tigers went out in front with a four run first highlighted by back-to-back two-run doubles by Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch. As usual the Twins did not go down easily. They spent the rest of the night playing catch up and were almost successful. Jeremy Bonderman was not sharp leaving with a 5-4 lead with one out in the sixth inning. The Twins scored a run off reliever Phil Coke in the seventh inning to make it 6-5. It was that kind of night but this time the Tigers held on.
This should be the most satisfying victory of the year for the Tigers and their fans but it isn't. Joel Zumaya left the game in severe pain after throwing a pitch to Delmon Young. He appeared to hurt his elbow and collapsed on the mound. It looked awful. It was reminiscent of Dave Dravecky whose arm literally broke off while throwing a pitch back in 1989. There is no word on the severity yet but I'm guessing Zumaya is done for the season and maybe more.
Ironically, the Zumaya injury forced Jose Velverde into the game in the eighth inning. Just yesterday, I wrote that Valverde was being misused in his narrowly defined ninth inning role. Obviously, this was not the circumstance I was hoping for when I wished he would be used differently. He did retire the last five Twins in order but it was a bittersweet victory.