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What a concept! Tigers use pitching and defense to sweep Twins, 4-2

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DETROIT - JUNE 01:  Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park on June 1, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT - JUNE 01: Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park on June 1, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Final - 6.1.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Minnesota Twins 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 6 1
Detroit Tigers 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 X 4 7 0
WP: Rick Porcello (5 - 3)
SV: Jose Valverde (14)
LP: Scott Baker (2 - 4)

Complete Coverage >


BOX

KEY STAT

6.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 3 holds, 2 saves.

Those are Joaquín Benoit's numbers since blowing up big time against the Blue Jays on May 11th. The Tigers setup man had another uneventful, scoreless inning tonight.

Even though his demotion to middle inning, low leverage situations didn't last much longer than Terrelle Pryor uses cars, Benoit has pitched his way out of a major funk. The Tigers' bullpen, though still shaky, is better because of it.

KEY PLAY

Jim Leyland not putting Ryan Raburn in the lineup. OK, OK, I'm kidding...kinda.

The key play was Al Alburquerque striking out Trevor Plouffe with the bases loaded to the end the Twins' 7th inning rally. Al-Al froze Plouffe with a nasty 97 MPH fastball at the knees. Any hope of a Twins victory ended with the K.

It's often said you never quite know where an effective relief pitcher will come from. Alburquerque, now pitching in his third organization and coming out of absolutely nowhere, is exhibit A.

BONUS KEY PLAY

Miguel Cabrera's three run home run in the 3rd, giving the Tigers all the runs they needed. That's how you make a pitcher pay for giving up a pair of free passes, just use Earl Weaver's favorite weapon. For what it's worth, it was only the Tigers' second three run shot of the season, both hit by the Tigers' mashing 1st baseman in the past eight days.

KEY THOUGHTS

After a rough appearance against the Red Sox last week, Rick Porcello bounced back with a quality start, allowing two runs in 6.2 innings. Porcello's only mistake was giving up a two run home run to the Twins' .133 hitting number nine hitter Drew Butera. Indeed a bad mistake by Porcello, but not enough to nullify an otherwise solid start.

And +1 to Porcello for laying out attempting to field a bunt. He didn't come up with the catch, but it was one Hell of an effort...if a little scary.

Daniel Schlereth came on in relief of Porcello, threw one pitch, hit Justin Morneau, and was immediately pulled. With Phil Coke soon to come off the DL, and a roster move coming with it, Schlereth didn't make much of a case to keep a roster spot, let alone be the Tigers' LOOGY.

What exactly was the Twins' Alexi Casilla thinking by trying to bunt with a man on 2nd with one out in the 9th? And why on earth did he try to do so with two strikes? Of course, he fouled off the attempt, giving the Tigers an important, and not to mention free, out. As if we needed any more conformation as to why the Twins' season is already over.

Last night, Jim Leyland decided have Max Scherzer pitch to Morneau with a man on and 1st base open in the 7th inning. Morneau went yard, tying the game. Tonight, with a man on and 1st base open in the 9th, Leyland decided to walk Morneau, putting the tying run on base. Jose Valverde then induced a Michael Cuddyer ground out, ending the game, and making Leyland look like a genius...for one night, anyway.

Alex Avila (two out RBI single in the 2nd inning) and Cabrera did all their damage in the first three innings. The Tigers offense went silent for the remainder of the game, only managing one hit after the 4th inning. But the offense wasn't needed tonight, as the Tigers had (GASP!) solid pitching and good defense!

What a difference an evening makes, huh?