MINNEAPOLIS -- Octavio Dotel pitched just 1 2/3 innings in Saturday's 6-3 victory over the Twins, but his short stint -- in which he struck out four of the five hitters he faced -- had manager Jim Leyland indicating he was the difference in the game.
"The hero of the game for me was Octavio Dotel," Leyland said. "The key to the day was Dotel."
Starter Max Scherzer did not return to the mound after pitching into the sixth inning when a rain delay stopped play for 42 minutes.
With Scherzer out, Leyland tapped Dotel, who inherited runners on the corners with one out and the Tigers leading, 6-3. Dotel proceeded to strike out Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham to end the threat.
The veteran reliever then pitched a spotless seventh inning, striking out two more batters. It was not only a dominant showing, but an efficient one, as well. Dotel needed only 20 pitches to record the five outs.
"That was impressive," Leyland said. "That was not an easy situation to come in there to get both those guys like he did and then pitch another clean inning. We needed that."
A journeyman in the truest sense of the word, Dotel has played for 13 different Major League franchises, the most of any player in big league history.
If Dotel pitches the way he did on Saturday, he may stick around a while with the Tigers. So far this season, he has a 2.87 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings of work.
Young gets breather for finale; Kelly starts
MINNEAPOLIS -- With the Tigers in the midst of a stretch of 13 straight games without a day off, manager Jim Leyland tries to find ways to give some of his regulars a day off here and there. For Sunday's series finale with the Twins, it was Delmon Young's turn to rest.
Don Kelly got the start in right field, with Andy Dirks in left.
"I am going to DH [Brennan] Boesch, play Kelly in right field and give Delmon Young a blow," Leyland said.
Leyland has said previously that he is not going to make major changes to the lineup just because the Tigers were struggling offensively early, but he wants to keep the players on his bench sharp by giving them periodic playing time.
"I hope we can get in that flow where we use everybody. That's our concept of how we play and how we manage," Leyland said.
Another addition to Sunday's lineup was Ryan Rayburn. Ramon Santiago filled in for Rayburn at second base on Saturday, but Rayburn was back in the lineup for Sunday's finale.
Leyland also shuffled the batting order, moving Alex Avila up to the sixth spot, ahead of Jhonny Peralta. Avila has been having better at-bats recently, as he was 3-for-8 with three RBIs over the first two games of the series.
Joe Kieser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.