leaped high to rob
of a home run in the first inning, the
catcher simply told himself to put a little extra on it the next time around.
The way the two-time AL batting champion is hitting these days, things like that are coming easy for him.
Mauer hit a home run just over Thomas's glove in the third inning and the Twins' struggling bullpen protected a lead for three
innings in a 6-2 victory Tuesday night.
''It felt good,'' Mauer said. ''I'm seeing the ball pretty good and put a couple good swings on it.''
homered for the Twins in his first at-bat after missing three games with a hamstring injury.
homered for Detroit, but
(3-3) still hasn't figured out how to beat Minnesota. He gave up five runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings and is 0-5 with a
5.63 ERA in his career against the Twins.
''Not good,'' Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. ''It seemed like we should've had five or six runs but we didn't have any,
so not good.''
(5-1) gave up one run and eight hits in six innings for the Twins. Reliever
was booed lustily after giving up a leadoff homer to Santiago to start the seventh, but
retired nine in a row for an embattled bullpen that surrendered a two-run lead in the eighth against Seattle on Sunday.
With one on in the first inning, Mauer lifted a drive the opposite way that was headed to the seats. But Thomas leaped at
the left field wall and caught it just before it would have landed in the first row.
''He said, 'All right, I'm just going to hit it harder,''' Twins first baseman
said. ''And he sneaked it by him.''
In the third, Mauer did put a little extra oomph on it. Thomas ran out of real estate and slammed into the wall as Mauer's
two-run homer barely reached the seats for a 4-0 lead.
''He hit it and I turned the wrong way,'' Thomas said. ''So I probably could have had that one too, but I turned the wrong
way off the jump and it got by me. That one was definitely hit better, so that would've been a harder play, but I still think
I should've made it.''
The sweet-swinging lefty had two hits and a walk in his seventh multi-hit game and fifth in a row in a start that has been
surprising even by his lofty standards.
He is hitting .500 (16 for 32) despite missing all of spring training and the first 22 games of the season with a back injury
and has come back stronger than ever.
Mauer homered on his first swing of the season and has four on the season. It took him 78 games to hit four homers last year,
and only 10 to do it this season.
''He can hit the ball a long ways,'' Twins manager
said. ''He's driving it right now. The ball's jumping off his bat.''
Slowey had to work had in every inning. He got bailed out in the fifth when second baseman
made a brilliant diving stop of a grounder from
to start an inning-ending double play.
But the Tigers never could string hits together and left eight men on base as their three-game winning streak ended.
''We just couldn't get a big hit,'' Leyland said. ''We had some opportunities, just couldn't knock in a run.''
Notes: Leyland twice left the dugout to argue calls in the game and went 1-1 against the umpires. In the first, Tolbert made
a catch in foul territory and threw to 1B where umpire Paul Nauert ruled Larish out. But after Leyland argued that Larish
tagged up before leaving the base, home plate umpire Ed Rapuano overturned the call. In the sixth, 1B umpire Paul Schrieber
ruled that Crede beat out a double-play throw from 2B
. Replays showed that he was out. ... Tigers 3B
reached base in 24 straight games to start the season. But after going 0 for 4 on Tuesday, he is 3 for his last 25 with 11
strikeouts while his batting average has plummeted from .316 to .269.