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Nemesis nips Tigers

Nemesis nips Tigers
MINNEAPOLIS -- The battle of the bullpens this was not.

Curtis Granderson, apparently distracting Minnesota Twins reliever Jesse Crain with a quick burst from third base, came home when Crain balked in his delivery with two outs in the 13th inning.

But Brandon Lyon, after pitching two shutout innings of relief Wednesday night, gave up five runs in the bottom half of the inning and the Detroit Tigers were 14-10 losers in their first extra-inning game of the year.

Tigers nemesis Joe Crede hit a grand slam off Lyon with the score tied. It was the 24th career homer against Detroit for Crede, who previously played for the Chicago White Sox and hasn't hit more against any other team. It was his seventh grand slam.

Left fielder Josh Anderson nearly made a diving catch on Matt Tolbert's liner, but one-hopped it and pinch-runner Nick Punto raced home to make it 10-10 in the bottom of the 13th.

Granderson, the American League's triples leader for two consecutive seasons, laced his first triple of 2009 with one out in the 13th.

"I like the way we hung in there and battled," said Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, who hit a two-run homer. "Yes, you can be upset that you lost. But I saw some good signs. I didn't see anyone give up."

Three launch-pad home runs -- each traveling well over 400 feet -- put Detroit in position to win. But then Joel Zumaya gave up a two-run, pinch-hit homer to Jason Kubel in the eighth inning to tie the score 9-9.

Miguel Cabrera's three-run shot on the first pitch reliever Matt Guerrier delivered in the seventh inning gave the Detroit Tigers the lead they lost one inning later.

Detroit Tigers left-hander Dontrelle Willis, in his first start since coming off the disabled list with an anxiety disorder, came out in the fifth inning, trailing by one run. But Inge's homer gave reliever Zach Miner the lead and took Willis off the hook.

Inge connected off starter Glen Perkins, and his ninth of the season traveled high and half way up the left field grandstands for an estimated 417 feet.

Jeff Larish blistered the paint off the bottom of a center-field seating section for a 402-foot solo job that made it 9-7 for the Tigers .

Willis seemed to get stronger with each inning but had a rough start.

He walked Minnesota leadoff hitter Denard Span in the first inning, then didn't walk another batter until Joe Mauer in the fifth.

Matt Tolbert bunted Span over to third after he advanced to second when Cabrera couldn't handle a pickoff throw to first. Then, with the infield pulled in, Mauer chopped a grounder that shortstop Adam Everett fielded and came home with to throw out Span.

But Justin Morneau drilled a 418-foot homer to center for a 2-0 lead. It was the first homer Willis had given up to a left-handed hitter in his past 53 appearances, dating to one by Philadelphia's Ryan Howard on July 29, 2006.

This was not the start Willis had in mind. He then gave up two singles to start the second but threw a blanket over that fire by snaring a Mike Redmond liner and turning it into a double play.

The Twins scored single runs in the third and fourth innings. And with Mauer on first and two out in the fifth, after getting Morneau to pop out, Tigers manager Jim Leyland brought in right-handed Zach Miner to face right-handed Michael Cuddyer.

"I felt good today," Willis said. "I was around the plate all day, battling a tough team. I wish I could've gone deeper. All in all, I felt confident and relaxed."

Cuddyer singled, but Miner got Crede to ground out and end the inning.

Willis allowed four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He threw 53 strikes on 87 pitches but didn't strike out anybody for the first time since his first game as a Tiger against the White Sox on April 5, 2008, when he went five innings without one.

Leyland was ejected in the seventh inning by home plate umpire Paul Schrieber after coming out to apparently question why the umpire had put his left hand on Ordonez's back as if to move him along.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 15, 2009

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