By Jon Krawczynski, AP Baseball Writer
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jhonny Peralta finished a triple short of the cycle and had four RBIs to lift Detroit to an 8-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night, the Tigers' 11th straight win over their AL Central rivals.
Max Scherzer (11-5) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings and Ryan Raburn also homered for the Tigers, who picked up a game on second-place Cleveland and pushed the Twins seven games back in the division.
Brian Duensing (7-8) was rocked for seven runs and nine hits in 42/3 innings for the Twins, who have dropped the first two games in a home series they were hoping to use to pick up some ground on the division leaders.
Jim Thome had two hits and an RBI for Minnesota.
Peralta hit a solo homer in the second inning, a two-run single in the third and an RBI-double in the fifth that made it 7-1 and chased Duensing. The lefty had seven strikeouts, including five in the first two innings. But he also gave up a solo shot to Raburn in the first inning.
All nine Tigers starters had a hit in the game, a dominating offensive performance that allowed Scherzer to relax against a team that has given him all sorts of problems early in his career. The right-hander had allowed six or more runs in three of his previous four starts against the Twins and was 0-1 with a 7.43 ERA in his two previous outings at Target Field.
It was an entirely different story Friday night. Scherzer struck out four and gave up his only run on a groundout from Danny Valencia in the second inning. He allowed two hits and a walk over his final five innings.
Maybe the Tigers' fortunes are changing right along with Scherzer's. They have struggled mightily in the second half of the season over the last few years, and the Twins have always been there to take advantage of those stumbles and surge to another division title.
But the Tigers are 7-0 against the Twins this year and haven't lost to Minnesota since Sept. 1.
The Twins are in the middle of a 12-game homestand that they hoped would thrust them right back into the thick of the Central race. After taking three of four from the Royals, they split with the Indians and now can do no better than a split against Detroit.
Duensing has been terrible in his two starts against the Tigers this season, giving up 13 runs and 18 hits in 91/3 innings, good for a 12.54 ERA. Carlos Guillen, Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez took him deep into the count through the first three innings, forcing him to throw 69 pitches on a hot summer night.
Jason Kubel had a single and two walks in his first game for the Twins since May 30.
NOTES: Pitch count? What pitch count? One night after Justin Verlander threw 126 pitches in a win over the Twins, Scherzer threw 120. ... The Twins said they planned to activate RHP Scott Baker (elbow strain) from the DL in time to start Saturday against the Tigers. Baker has missed two starts because of the injury. ... The Tigers agreed to terms with third-round draft pick Aaron Westlake, a 1B from Vanderbilt, and 22nd-round pick Tommy Collier, a RHP from San Jacinto.