Doumit delivers twice, knocks Tigers back a step

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2012 - 12:20 AM

His run-scoring hits in the seventh and eighth were the difference against Detroit.

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Twins designated hitter Ryan Doumit stood at second base and pounded his hands together in the eighth inning Friday night, as an announced crowd of 30,315 at Target Field roared its approval.

The Twins were back playing spoilers against the Tigers again and loving it.

After breaking a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the seventh inning, Doumit had just broken another tie, lining a two-run double in the eighth.

Doumit's two hits and four RBI lifted the Twins to a 4-2 victory, and when the White Sox held off the Rays 3-1 in Chicago, that lowered Detroit's American League Central lead to one game with five to play.

In between Doumit's two hits, the Twins squandered a 2-0 lead, as Omar Infante followed third baseman Trevor Plouffe's error with a two-run homer off Twins starter Scott Diamond.

"It would have been easy to kind of roll over right there," Doumit said. "But we strung together some good at-bats, and this was a fun win. I can't say enough about Scott Diamond's performance."

Last Sunday in Detroit, Diamond retired the first 10 Tigers batters and tossed seven strong innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader sweep for the Twins. This time, he retired the first 11 batters and wound up giving up only one earned run over 7 1/3 innings.

"Diamond was just super -- really, really good," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He made the one bad pitch that ended up in the seats, and we missed a couple of plays, but it was a good pitchers' duel. Their guy did about the same to us."

Subbing for 16-game winner Max Scherzer, who has a strained right shoulder, Tigers lefthander Drew Smyly held the Twins to two hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings.

The game was an offensive struggle until the seventh, when Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder's muffed a routine bouncer from Justin Morneau. It was another costly error for Detroit: Doumit followed with his two-run homer off lefthander Phil Coke.

"Did you know he broke his bat on his home run?" injured Twins slugger Josh Willingham said.

Doumit said it was the first time he has had that happen.

"It felt good off the bat, I'll tell you that much," Doumit said. "I didn't know it was broken until I got home. That's good wood."

Doumit took a new bat to the plate in the eighth, after Tigers righthander Brayan Villareal walked Denard Span, Joe Mauer and Morneau to load the bases with one out.

Villareal threw a first-pitch fastball, and Doumit pounced.

"He had trouble finding the strike zone, and I figured he was trying to get ahead," Doumit said. "I was up there aggressive. I was looking for a fastball over the plate, and I got it."

The switch-hitting Doumit is batting .277 and has set career highs this year with 17 home runs and 71 RBI. The Twins already have locked him up with a two-year, $7 million contract extension.

"Most of all, it's nice to stay healthy," Doumit said. "This is the first time -- knock wood -- that I've managed to stay off the disabled list and get 500 [plate appearances], which is nice to see what I can do."

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