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Twins right fielder Joe Benson couldn't come up with Alex Avila's eighth-inning drive Friday night. Benson couldn't come up with his first major league hit, either.

Duane Burleson, AP

Minnesota Twins starter Kevin Slowey pitches against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of a baseball game on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, in Detroit.

Duane Burleson, Associated Press

TEAM NOTES

Early lead doesn't last long for Slowey

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • September 10, 2011 - 7:51 AM

DETROIT — Kevin Slowey has appeared in 12 games for the Twins this season, and they have lost every single one.

Not that he's to blame for all 12 losses. Six of his seven relief outings came with the team trailing, and the Twins scored four runs combined in his first four starts.

But Friday night, the Twins handed Slowey a four-run lead in the first inning and still lost. The Tigers pounded the righthander for six runs in four innings en route to an 8-4 victory at Comerica Park.

Manager Ron Gardenhire pulled Slowey after 59 pitches.

"Obviously, giving up six runs in four innings isn't really going to encourage the skipper to send you back out there," Slowey said. "He made the decision to bring Kyle [Waldrop] in, and Kyle threw great. If I want to be out there for seven, eight, nine innings, I've got to throw better."

Slowey, who spent most of the season on the disabled list or at Class AAA Rochester, fell to 0-5 with a 6.63 ERA in five starts. Entering the year, he was 39-21 in his career as a starter.

The Twins could have made this one easier on all their pitchers, as they had chances for an early knockout against Detroit's worst starter, Brad Penny.

Slowey tossed a 1-2-3 first inning, and the Twins had Penny right back on the ropes in the second, with runners at first and second and no outs. But Trevor Plouffe flied out to center, Joe Mauer grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, and the Twins didn't get another hit until the seventh.

"[Penny's] a veteran pitcher," Gardenhire said. "He did what he had to do to get through five innings."

Alex Avila's three-run homer trimmed the lead to 4-3 in the second inning. Wilson Betemit tied it with an RBI triple in the fourth before Detroit's No. 9 hitter, Ramon Santiago, connected for a two-run homer.

Delmon Young led off the fifth inning with a home run off Twins reliever Kyle Waldrop -- Young's fourth homer with the Tigers, matching his total with the Twins through Aug. 15. Two of his homers have come against the Twins. Detroit added another insurance run in the eighth.

At 59-85, the Twins must go 4-14 in their final 18 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1982.

Morneau, Span updates

Justin Morneau (concussion symptoms) and Denard Span (migraine symptoms) were both scheduled to work out on the field before Friday's game, but the rainy weather forced the Twins and Tigers to cancel their pregame workouts.

Morneau and Span hit in the indoor batting cages instead. Still, the scheduled workouts were signs that Morneau and Span are making progress.

Etc.

• Joe Mauer started his first game at catcher since Aug. 20, Tsuyoshi Nishioka played shortstop for the first time since last Saturday and Jason Kubel returned to the lineup, at designated hitter, after missing three games because of a sore left foot.

• Brian Duensing (strained oblique) had no problems in a throwing session and will have another one Sunday. If all goes well, the lefthander could be available out of the bullpen for the next series, at Kansas City.

• Injured starters Scott Baker (strained flexor muscle) and Francisco Liriano (strained shoulder) are scheduled for throwing sessions Sunday at Target Field.

• Each year, Twins players nominate a player for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, which goes to the player who combines on-field performance with off-field service. Kubel is this year's nominee.

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