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DET@MIN: Dirks doubles home a pair to extend the lead

MINNEAPOLIS -- The only thing that put a damper on the Tigers hitting display on Saturday at Target Field was the rain. Detroit had six runs and 11 hits before a second rain delay cooled things off in the bottom of the sixth inning. But the rain did not erase a Detroit victory, it only delayed it.

Detroit's hitting woes will not be a topic of conversation any longer if it keeps hitting the way it has on Friday and Saturday, as the Tigers pounded Twins pitching for a second consecutive day in earning a 6-3 victory.

Once again, Detroit hitters drove a Minnesota pitcher from the game in less than five innings, and the Tigers put up four runs in one inning.

"It was an interesting game with the rain delay," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "There were a lot of nice hits today. We came out and swung the bats pretty good again, we were ready to play."

The big blow came with one out in the top of the fifth, when six consecutive Detroit batters collected hits off of Carl Pavano, putting up four runs to break a 2-2 tie. All of the hits were singles, with the exception of an Andy Dirks double.

The Tigers offense was crisp early, as Dirks, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder collected three consecutive hits in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead.

Pavano said the Detroit lineup is just too good when you are not hitting your spots, something he said he did not do well in the first or fifth innings.

"I got us out on the wrong foot, giving up two runs. I've pitched against these guys enough to know they're aggressive. There was a stretch in the middle where I made some good pitches and got some outs, but that inning, it's just a game of inches. I looked back at the film and some of them got too much plate even though they were ground balls. So I could've done a better job in that inning, and I didn't do that."

Fielder collected four more hits, to go along with his three yesterday, giving him seven hits in his first nine plate appearances in the series. Dirks had a nice day at the plate too, as he accounted for two doubles.

"He's starting to get it going, I knew he would. He's got too good of a track record," Leyland said about Fielder.

Detroit starter Max Scherzer allowed two runs after facing the first five Minnesota batters, but zoned in after that to retire the next 13 hitters he faced, before the Twins bunched some hits together and the rain began to pour in the bottom of the sixth.

Scherzer's key to success was even though the Twins got some hits and runs off him, he didn't give them any extra base runners. "I didn't walk anybody. That's always a recipe for success. You don't make mistakes like that and give them extra runners. I am more happy about that than anything about this start."

Unfortunately, the delay meant the end of Scherzer's day, as he left after 5 1/3 innings of work with runners on the corners in the sixth inning before action was halted. Octavio Dotel took over for Scherzer and shut down the Twins rally in the sixth, and closed out the seventh, as he struck out four of the five batters he faced on 20 pitches.

Scherzer and Dotel teamed to strikeout 13 Minnesota batters, and Detroit pitchers struck out 16 Twins in all.

Scherzer said he wanted to return after the rain delay, but it was not his decision to make. "I always want to go back out, you have to have that mentality. I was ready to go out, but [Leyland] is the manager, he makes those decisions," Scherzer said.

Leyland said the rain delay only reduced the number of batters Scherzer would've faced by one, as he was due to face right-handed hitter Josh Willingham next and left-hander Justin Morneau after that in the sixth.

"I made a decision, 80 pitches this early in the season. He wasn't going to face Morneau any way. I just wasn't going to put Scherzer back in there," Leyland said.

Scherzer did allow two home runs, but also struck out nine Minnesota batters on his way to earning his fourth victory of the season.

Two separate rain delays put a stop to the action for a total of 63 minutes.

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