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Twins snap four-game losing skid

By Joe Christensen, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) –

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins had high hopes for outfielder Darin Mastroianni when they plucked him off waivers last offseason. With Samuel Deduno, they weren’t sure what were getting, but they liked his arm and decided he was worth a shot, too.

Both players played big roles Monday night as the Twins ended a four-game losing streak by defeating the Tigers, 9-3, before an announced crowd of 34,366 at Target Field.

Mastroianni had a home run and three RBI, and he also made a diving catch in right field to help stymie Detroit’s comeback attempt in the eighth inning.

Deduno (4-0) racked up five walks again, but he held the Tigers to one run on two hits over the first seven innings. Leading 8-1, manager Ron Gardenhire let him start the eighth inning, for the first time this year, and Detroit ended his night with three straight hits.

Gardenhire patted Deduno’s chest as he took the ball, and with the crowd giving a loud ovation, the 29-year-old rookie triumphantly thrust both fists on his way back to the dugout.

It was the fourth time he’s allowed five walks in a game, but none of those have turned into losses. In fact, the Twins are 6-1 in his starts. Deduno spent most of last season with the Padres Class AAA Tucson affiliate, making just two relief appearances in the majors.

Mastroianni split most of last season with the Blue Jays’ Class AA and Class AAA affiliates, getting in just one major league game before landing on waivers this winter.

Anibal Sanchez was charged with five runs on 12 hits in 5 innings, leaving his ERA at 7.97 in four starts for the Tigers. Detroit acquired him from the Marlins on July 23, along with second baseman Omar Infante, in a trade for top Tigers pitching prospect Jacob Turner.

Joe Mauer lined a ball off Sanchez’s left leg in the first inning, but the righthander remained in the game and stranded three runners on base the first two innings.

The Twins grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third with three consecutive two-out singles — by Mauer, Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau.

Deduno had his usual control problems, walking three batters over the first two innings, but Detroit didn’t have a hit or a run until the fifth. Brennan Boesch drew a leadoff walk in the fifth, and Jhonny Peralta followed with an RBI double into the right-center gap.

It looked like things could get ugly that inning, as Infante followed Peralta’s hit with a single, putting runners at the corners with no outs. But Austin Jackson struck out, and then Andy Dirks lined a ball that deflected off Deduno’s glove and soared right to second baseman Alexi Casilla, who quickly fired to first base to double off Infante.

Mastroianni put the Twins back in front that inning with a bases-empty home run that sailed just beyond the left-field wall. It was Mastroianni’s third homer of the year, and it came in his 106th at-bat.

Casilla made it 3-1 in the sixth with an RBI double off the right-field wall, and that finished Sanchez for the night, as Tigers manager Jim Leyland turned to his bullpen, with the righthander at 102 pitches.

With two outs, Mastroianni added a two-run single off lefthander Phil Coke, stretching the lead to 5-1.

Ryan Doumit made it 8-1 with a three-run homer in the seventh. That gave Doumit 14 home runs for the season, leaving him one shy of his career-high of 15, set in 2008 for Pittsburgh.

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