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Associated Press, Published May 25 2012

Tigers offense comes up big in win against Twins

By Jon Krawczynski

AP Baseball Writer

MINNEAPOLIS – Prince Fielder had three hits and two RBIs and the struggling Detroit Tigers offense broke out in a big way in a 10-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

Alex Avila drove in three runs on two doubles, Drew Smyly (2-1) gave up four runs – three earned – on six hits in five innings and Brennan Boesch added three hits and two RBIs for the Tigers, who bounced back from a three-game sweep at the hands of AL Central-leading Cleveland.

Denard Span had three hits for the Twins, who got another poor outing from their starting pitcher. Anthony Swarzak (0-4) gave up six runs on nine hits in 3Xc innings in his first start since April 19.

Delmon Young had three hits and an RBI against his former team and the Tigers pounded out 16 hits.

One of the busiest men on the field was first-base umpire Alan Porter, who had several bang-bang plays at the bag throughout the game.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire both argued with him early in the game, and Porter tossed Twins third baseman Jamey Carroll in the eighth after calling him out on a close play. Gardenhire came out to defend Carroll and got ejected himself, and the manager tossed his hat as he left the field.

After signing Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million deal in the offseason, offense figured to be the least of the Tigers’ problems in 2012. But they entered the day just 17th in the majors in runs scored and managed just six runs total in being swept by the Indians.

Avila entered hitting .225, Young was hitting .248 with just two homers, and Fielder was at a pedestrian .286 with seven homers.

Leyland said before the game that he was up late on Thursday night trying to think of ways he could shuffle the lineup to give his team a spark before coming to a realization.

“Why am I busting my brain to figure out who I can juggle or put in there?” Leyland said. “That’s really not the answer. This lineup is our team. This is who we’re going with.”

The faith in his team paid off on Friday night.

Fielder and Young led off the second with singles and Boesch and Avila delivered RBI doubles in Detroit’s four-run second inning.

The pair came through again in the fourth, with Boesch leading off with a double and Avila doubling him home for a 5-2 lead. Ryan Raburn added an RBI single to make it 6-2 and chase Swarzak.

Detroit Minnesota

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Berry cf 4 1 2 1 Span cf 5 1 3 0

Dirks lf 5 0 1 0 Revere rf 5 0 1 0

MiCarr 3b 3 2 1 0 Mauer c 5 2 1 0

Fielder 1b 5 2 3 2 Wlngh dh 4 0 1 0

DYong dh 5 1 3 1 Mornea 1b 4 1 1 1

Boesch rf 4 2 3 2 Dozier ss 4 0 1 2

RSantg 2b 1 0 0 0 Plffe lf-3b 4 2 1 0

JhPerlt ss 4 0 0 0 ACasill 2b 3 0 0 1

Avila c 4 2 2 3 JCarrll 3b 2 0 1 2

Rabrn 2b-rf 4 0 1 1 Mstrnn lf 0 0 0 0

Totals 39 10 16 10 Totals 36 6 10 6

Detroit 040 210 300— 10

Minnesota 200 102 100— 6

E—Villarreal 2 (2). DP—Minnesota 3. LOB—Detroit 5, Minnesota 7. 2B—Fielder (9), D.Young (10), Boesch 2 (9), Avila 2 (6), Span 2 (12), Willingham (14), Dozier (4), Plouffe (3). SB—Berry (1), Mi.Cabrera (2). SF—A.Casilla, J.Carroll.

IP H R ER BB SO

Detroit

Smyly W,2-1 5 6 4 3 2 2

Villarreal Xc 1 1 0 0 0

Coke H,9 1 2 1 1 0 1

Benoit 1Zc 0 0 0 0 1

Valverde 1 1 0 0 0 2

Minnesota

Swarzak L,0-4 3Xc 9 6 6 1 3

Liriano 2Xc 5 4 4 2 3

Gray Xc 0 0 0 0 1

Perkins 1 0 0 0 0 1

Capps 1 2 0 0 0 0

Smyly pitched to 1 batter in the 6th.

WP—Gray.

T—3:29. A—37,688 (39,500).