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Twins Send Tigers to Brink of Elimination

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By LARRY LAGE
The Associated Press
Monday, September 24, 2007; 9:49 PM

DETROIT -- Minnesota's Carlos Silva shut down Detroit over 7 2-3 innings in a 2-0 victory Monday night that put the Tigers on the brink of being eliminated from the playoff race.

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The defending American League champions are one loss, or a New York Yankees' win, from officially being relegated to watching this postseason. The Tigers have lost five of their last seven games to speed up the seemingly inevitable conclusion to their season.

New York leads Detroit in the AL wild-card race by 5 1/2 games.

Nick Punto's RBI single in the second inning and Jason Kubel's run-scoring single in the ninth was all the offense for Minnesota, which has won five of seven to increase its chances of finishing with a winning record for the seventh straight year. The Twins (77-79) had lost seven in a row against the Tigers.

Detroit used its best lineup, but couldn't score against Silva (13-14), who gave up six hits without a walk and struck out one.

Glen Perkins got the final out of the eighth, with the potential tying run at second. Joe Nathan allowed two runners on in the ninth but got Ivan Rodriguez on a groundout for his 35th save in 39 chances.

Nate Robertson (8-13) took the loss despite giving up only one run and three hits over seven innings.

Robertson struck out six and walked four, and one of those led to trouble.

Michael Cuddyer walked to lead off the second. Third baseman Brandon Inge then bobbled Matt LeCroy's grounder, and had to settle for a throw to first instead of a possible double play.

Punto's two-out single to left brought home Cuddyer.

Kubel's two-out single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth drove in pinch-runner Jason Tyner and made it 2-0.

The Tigers had two on and no outs in the sixth, but Silva got out of the jam with a double play _ despite the Tigers executing a hit and run _ and a pop up.

Sean Casey hit a one-out single off Silva in the eighth, and pinch-runner Cameron Maybin stole second. Inge lined out and pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn grounded out.

Notes:@ Minnesota DH/OF Rondell White, who went 1-for-4, said there is a "99-percent chance" he will retire after this season because of injuries. ... Detroit RHP Jeremy Bonderman (elbow) did not respond well enough to a bullpen session Saturday to get one last start this season. ... LeCroy caught for the first time since May 25, 2006, when he was benched in the middle of an inning by Washington manager Frank Robinson after Houston stole seven bases against him. ... Minnesota LF Lew Ford (hand) was scratched from the lineup.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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