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Bad memories help Tigers sweep Twins

July 20, 2007|From the Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Detroit Tigers haven't forgotten how the Minnesota Twins rallied last summer from a 12-game deficit to overtake them in the division race on the regular season's final day.

They also remember how they built such a big lead in the first place.

Brandon Inge's 10th-inning double against Joe Nathan drove in new addition Timo Perez, pushing the Tigers past the Twins, 4-3, on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep of the defending AL Central champions.

"We learned a lot last year. We learned from our mistakes and the things we did right," said Inge, who also had a run-scoring single in a three-run seventh. "I think we're more persistent. We're not going to give up. You can call it being gamers or mental toughness. We're going to play hard -- whether it's nine innings or 20 innings."

Placido Polanco and Gary Sheffield drove in runs with consecutive doubles in the seventh for the Tigers, who have baseball's best record at 57-36 -- and 32 wins on the road, most in the majors.

Zach Miner (1-1) pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings for the victory, and Todd Jones recorded his 26th save in 30 tries to extend Detroit's lead in the division over third-place Minnesota to nine games.

The Twins trailed by the same nine-game margin as late as Aug. 12 last year, but they were playing much better then.

Though this was their fourth consecutive one-run loss to the Tigers and they had their share of bad bounces this week, the lineup is lagging behind -- and another strong pitching performance was wasted.

Jason Kubel was three for four with a homer for the Twins, who got a solid start from Scott Baker and another dominant relief appearance by setup man Pat Neshek -- but nothing to show for them.

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