Cabrera conquers Capps, Twins swept by Tigers 4-3
MINNEAPOLIS—Two days ago, Matt Capps threw an 0-2 offspeed pitch on the outside of the strike zone to Miguel Cabrera and watched Detroit's daunting slugger stroke a single to the opposite field.
That was a mop-up situation. This time the damage for Minnesota was much worse.
Cabrera's two-run, one-out homer in the ninth inning sent the Tigers to a 4-3 victory over the Twins on Sunday afternoon to finish a three-game sweep in style after leaving 10 men on base earlier in the game.
"I blew it," Capps said. "This one's on me."
Capps (0-3) took his first blown save in 10 tries this season. After hanging two strikes without a ball on Cabrera, Capps fired his fastball on the inside corner of the plate, figuring the Tigers star would be looking for the same offspeed pitch outside he saw Friday.
But Cabrera crushed this one to center field.
"Try and let this be the last one. That's the only thing you can do," Capps said.
Cabrera is a career .408 hitter in 21 games at Target Field, including nine doubles, four homers and 18 RBIs.
"You've got to be ready for anything," Cabrera said.
Brayan Villarreal (1-1) recorded two outs in the eighth for the victory, and Jose Valverde followed for his ninth save in 11 attempts. Prince Fielder had two more hits and went 9 for 12 in the series plus two walks for the Tigers, who left eight runners in scoring position.
Denard Span led off the ninth with a single. After Ben Revere popped his bunt up for the first out, Joe Mauer hit a hard line out to left. Then after Span stole second, Josh Willingham walked. But Justin Morneau flied out to right, giving the Tigers their 21st victory over the Twins in the last 27 meetings.
"We're a good enough team. We score enough runs. We've got to do a better job of preventing them," said Glen Perkins, who struck out two in the eighth.
After a ray-of-hope four-game winning streak on the road that included a two-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit, the Twins have lost five in a row.
Alexi Casilla went 3 for 3 for the Twins, including an RBI single against Rick Porcello in the fourth. Mauer had two hits, tying the game at 2 with a double in the fifth. Willingham singled him in to give the Twins the lead.
P.J. Walters gave up seven hits and four walks, both highs over four appearances since being brought up from Triple-A less than three weeks ago. But he finished six innings with only two first-inning runs allowed and struck out four.
Coming off his first career complete game, a 9-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, Walters wasn't as good this time. But he was just as gritty. The 27-year-old right-hander induced a double-play grounder by Don Kelly to end the fourth with the bases loaded. He struck out Brennan Boesch to finish the fifth with the bases full. Then he escaped the sixth on a double-play groundout by Ryan Raburn after a walk and a single to start the frame.
The leadoff walk to Quintin Berry was still bothering Walters after the game, though. He scored on an RBI single by Cabrera.
"That run comes back to cost us," Walters said.
Cabrera was out after that hit because he was too casual about returning to the base after he rounded it. Casilla sneaked behind him to catch the quick throw and slap the tag on the burly slugger. The Tigers still, however, wrangled out a win. And the Twins were stuck with another frustrating loss.
NOTES: Walters has completed six innings and allowed either two or three runs in each of his four starts. ... Mauer is batting .386 with five doubles and 10 runs in his last 11 games. ... Twins RH Nick Blackburn (strained left quadriceps) is eligible to come off the DL on Friday but will make two rehab starts for Triple-A Rochester, the first on Tuesday. "If he throws a no-hitter, he's still going to start" on Sunday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... The Twins start a three-game series with Oakland on Monday in a holiday matinee. LH Scott Diamond (3-1, 1.78 ERA) takes the mound for the Twins, and LH Travis Blackley (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start of the season for the A's.