Jeff Manship's first major league win was well-timed for the Minnesota Twins, who got a grand slam from Delmon Young and hung on for a 10-7 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Friday night that cut Detroit's AL Central lead to one game.
The Twins and Tigers each have two games remaining.
Young had five RBIs, beginning with his first career slam in the first inning against Lenny DiNardo (0-3) that launched the Twins to their 14th win in their last 18 games.
Zack Greinke's up next for Minnesota on Saturday. But the Tigers _ who lost 8-0 to the Chicago White Sox _ are in for a tense finish.
The end to this game was plenty tense, too, with the Royals rallying to put the tying run at the plate in the eighth after falling behind 10-0.
Following Mitch Maier's two-run single off Jose Mijares that reduced Minnesota's lead to 10-7, Matt Guerrier got the last two outs of the inning and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 46th save.
Manship (1-1) was charged with four runs (three earned) in 5 1-3 innings, pitching better than his line looked. Striking out four, the rookie right-hander was hurt by a passed ball by catcher Joe Mauer and a handful of soft singles.
Young gave him plenty of help, hitting his first career slam for his 10th homer of the season. It's been a second straight year of inconsistency and light power production from Young, the former first overall pick in the draft, but he has also had another decent second half.
After splitting their four-game series with the Tigers, the Twins arrived home to raw, rainy weather _ fitting conditions for the start of their final series under the roof. The stadium is now officially known as Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, courtesy of a naming rights deal the Vikings announced this week in anticipation of soon becoming the sole tenant.
The rest of those new signs might have to wait a bit to be hung, the way the Twins are playing.
The crowd of 40,223 roared as Matt Tolbert stepped in the batter's box following Kansas City's second pitching change, Victor Marte for Carlos Rosa in the fourth inning. The cheers weren't for Tolbert, though he hit a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 10, but for the "F" that appeared next to the Chicago-Detroit score on the videoboard above right field.
That the increased possibility of a pennant race lasting through the final weekend and perhaps to a 163rd game. The tiebreaker would be played here, but not until Tuesday because the Vikings have priority for their Monday night matchup against the Packers.
Last year, the Royals won two out of three here on the season's final weekend to force the Twins into a tiebreaker game they lost to the White Sox.
To keep this going, the Twins must beat Greinke, widely considered the AL Cy Young Award favorite with his 16-8 record and 2.06 ERA for the 95-loss Royals.
Last weekend in Kansas City, Greinke topped Francisco Liriano and the Twins 4-1 with seven tough innings. Liriano's failure in that game forced Manship, who had pitched his way out of the rotation, back in.
NOTES: Royals SS Yuniesky Betancourt left the game in the sixth because of a bruise on the top of his left foot. ... His last start delayed by a day due to a rainout in Detroit, Nick Blackburn will pitch Saturday for the Twins on three days of rest. That might work in his favor, though, with a sinkerball that works best when it's not overthrown. ... Royals LF David DeJesus rejoined the team, but he sat out for the seventh straight game because of a flu-like illness. ... Jesse Crain relieved Manship and gave up a walk and a two-run single to Betancourt, who had three RBIs. Crain was charged with a run for the first time in his last 18 appearances.
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