Tigers defeat Twins 7-5, take over AL Central lead

To sum up how things are going right now for the Twins: Jim Thome hit a triple, which is a miracle of the first order, and yet Minnesota still couldn't get a win.

Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch hit back-to-back two-run doubles in the first inning, part of an immediate Tigers rally that saw the first six batters of the game reach base - the first via a hit batsmen, the next five by singles. Detroit led 4-0 before the game was ten minutes old, and despite Twins rallies, held on for the victory.

The Tigers got some bad news late in the game, however, as reliever Joel Zumaya went down behind the mound in obvious pain after an innocuous looking-pitch. The right-hander was described as "trembling" as he clutched his elbow. An MRI is scheduled for tomorrow, but given his reaction, it doesn't look good for the flamethrower.

Francisco Liriano took the loss for Minnesota, and has lost three consecutive starts - all part of the larger Carl Pavano-excepted slide of the Twins rotation. The four non-Pavstached starters - Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Nick Blackburn - have now combined to lose seven of their past eight starts, with only a miraculous rally in Philly saving the eighth for Slowey. Liriano gave up six runs on nine hits in six innings, including the four-run first, and didn't give his team a chance to win the game.

On the offensive side, Thome - who also homered and walked - was the clear Twins star, but his triple may be the offensive story. The big lefty's blast to right-center hit the edge of the scoreboard and caromed towards the right-field line, a funhouse shot that gave Thome his first triple since May 11, 2004.

If it's a goat you're after, I give you Jason Kubel, who hit into double plays in the first and third inning, turning five runners on base with less than two out into two inning-ending bouncers. (/kicks garbage can) Let's just move on.

The loss drops Minnesota out of first place for the first time since April 11; the Twins now sit a half-game out of first, one and a half games ahead of the third-place White Sox. Given the Twins' hot start, some of us assumed that the team might run away and hide at the top of the AL Central. Those dreams are shredded and dead, and it's July 1 this Thursday. Begin pennant race now.

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