Twins are 13-1 against Detroit this year

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The task is clear for the first-place
Minnesota Twins.

"We just have to go beat everybody we play. We know that if we
win every game, they can't catch us," manager Ron Gardenhire said
after his team beat the Detroit Tigers 7-3 Saturday.

Johan Santana won his eighth straight decision, and Matthew
LeCroy and Dustan Mohr homered for Minnesota.

The Twins cut their magic number for winning the AL Central to
four with their eighth straight victory and 11th in 12 home games.
Minnesota extended its lead over second-place Chicago to 4{ games.
The White Sox lost 7-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
The Royals trail the Twins by 5{.

Detroit lost its eighth straight and fell to 18-59 on the road
this season. The Tigers (38-116) must win five of their final eight
games to avoid tying the post-1900 record for losses in a season.
Only the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (36-117) and 1962 New York
Mets (40-120) have lost more games than Detroit.

Santana (12-3) gave up three earned runs on four hits in 5 2-3
innings. He struck out five and walked two, the first walks issued
by a Twins starter in 30 2-3 innings during the homestand.

The Twins scored three times in the first inning off rookie Nate
Robertson (1-2) and never trailed. Corey Koskie drove in two with a
two-out single.

The game followed a pattern all too familiar to the Tigers: fall
behind early, scratch back, but come up short.

"It's not easy being down in the first inning 3-0," Tigers
manager Alan Trammell said. "We had a chance to get out with no
runs, but a bad pitch to Koskie didn't let that happen."

After a wild pitch, Koskie scored on a single by Torii Hunter.

"I had two strikes on Koskie, but I couldn't get my slider down
and he hit it," Robertson said. "It set the tone. My last four or
five starts, I've given up runs in the first inning. It's real
important to not do that."

After cruising through the first three innings, Santana labored
a bit and couldn't get out of the sixth, as Dmitri Young and Craig
Monroe drove in runs to cut the Twins' lead to 6-3. Gardenhire
pulled Santana after 106 pitches.

"They made me throw a lot of pitches because they were swinging
and making foul balls, and then -- just like that -- I was out of the
game," Santana said. "I didn't even know I had over 100 pitches
today because I felt good."

Robertson struck out four and gave up six earned runs on six
hits in five innings. He is winless in four starts since his first
major league victory on Aug. 29.

LeCroy had three hits, including a double in the third and a
two-run homer in the fifth, and finished with three RBI. Mohr
added his 10th home run of the year, and Doug Mientkiewicz scored
three runs.

Monroe led off the fifth with his 20th homer. He hit 20 in the
minor leagues in 2000 and '01. He also doubled twice and drove in
two runs.

The only real suspense came when Twins shortstop Cristian Guzman
was hit by a pitch in the eighth, the third Minnesota player to be
hit in the game. Guzman took a couple of steps toward pitcher Matt
Roney and a few players spilled out of the dugouts before
Gardenhire restrained Guzman and calmed him down.

"We know their young guys weren't trying to hit anybody,"
Gardenhire said. "We can't afford any fights, we can't get
suspended right now. We're trying to do some things here."

So are the Tigers -- namely, trying to avoid setting an
embarrassing record.

"I don't feel any different today than I did after (loss) 100
or 110," Trammell said. "I've been through this. It's not a
season we wanted, but we're well past that. It's part of our makeup
now. It's the way I am; my voice is sort of hoarse because I'm
always talking to the team."

Game notes
Twins catcher A.J. Pierzynski was not in the starting
lineup, ending his streak of consecutive starts at 21. He was
replaced by LeCroy. The game started less than 14 hours after
Friday night's game ended. Pierzynski was 4-for-4 with a home run
Friday, and hit .366 over the 21-game stretch. ... Minnesota is
13-1 against Detroit after winning 14 of 18 games vs. the Tigers
last season. ... The crowd of 26,903 put Minnesota ahead of last
year's attendance pace for the first time since early in the