Verlander outduels Santana as Tigers win sixth straight

DETROIT (AP) -- Johan Santana made one mistake and it cost him.

Rookie Justin Verlander outdueled the 2004 American League Cy Young Award winner and Vance Wilson homered to give the Detroit Tigers a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

It was Detroit's sixth straight win and sixth consecutive victory over Minnesota at home this season. It was the Twins' fourth straight loss.

Verlander (5-3) allowed six hits in eight innings. He didn't issue a walk or have a strikeout.

"Usually not my style of pitching," said Verlander. "They were aggressive on the fastball and were putting it in play."

Todd Jones pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 12 opportunities.

Santana (4-4), who had his four-game winning streak snapped, pitched a four-hitter. He struck out a season-high 12 and walked one.

"It was one of those games that you were facing a top team and wanted to challenge them," said Santana. "I felt good and did my best out there, but that wasn't enough. It takes 25 guys to win and we couldn't get the job done tonight."

Chris Shelton drew a walk with one out in the eighth inning. After Santana struck out Brandon Inge, Wilson lined the first pitch over the left-field fence for his first homer of the season.

"He had been getting me out on the inside fastball, so I started getting caught in between looking for the changeup," said Wilson. "But I can't hit the changeup anyway, it's such a nasty pitch. So I just figured I'd try to turn and burn on the fastball."

Wilson, the Tigers' backup catcher, was playing because manager Jim Leyland used Ivan Rodriguez as the designated hitter. The two teams play a day game on Thursday and Leyland doesn't want Rodriguez catching a day game after a night game.

"He's a regular player for me," Leyland said when asked about Wilson. "They're all regular players, they're all going to play ... Is Pudge the catcher? Absolutely. But Vance Wilson is a regular player for me."

The Tigers had runners on first and third with none out in the second after Magglio Ordonez led off with a double and Carlos Guillen followed with a bloop single to right. Santana then fanned Shelton. Ordonez was caught in a rundown and tagged out when he broke from third and Inge swung and missed.

Leyland took responsibility, saying he didn't alert Inge to look for the squeeze sign.

Guillen moved to third on the rundown, but Inge then struck out to end the inning.

The Twins had a runner retired at third base in the fourth. After Michael Cuddyer was hit by a pitch with two outs, Justin Morneau lined a ball off the wall in right center. But Cuddyer was tagged out by Inge at third, who blocked Cuddyer off with his knee, after rounding the bag on a throw from second baseman Ramon Santiago.

"It was a well-pitched game on both sides. We came in on the short end," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. "It was one of those games that the one big hit wins it and that's what they did."

Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter singled with two out in the sixth for Minnesota. But Cuddyer flied out to end the threat.

"Both pitchers were great. Santana was unbelieveable, he's one of or the best pitchers in the majors right now," said the Twins' Rondell White. "Verlander has the confidence of a 10-year vet. He didn't strike out anyone but came in with the 97 miles per hour fastball with two strikes on you and it was real hard to hit."

Game notes
Minnesota optioned right-hander Kyle Lohse to Triple-A Rochester. He was 2-4 with a 8.92 ERA in eight games. The Twins also recalled right-hander Boof Bonser from Rochester. ... Detroit relieved Ramon Pena of his duties as special assistant to the general manager.