- Associated Press - Saturday, May 10, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Toward the end of a quiet night for the home team at Comerica Park, an emergency alarm went off in the top of the ninth inning.

Nobody seemed all that concerned, although Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter said his mind started racing a bit.

“I almost took off running,” Hunter said. “I’m thinking biohazardous or something. Anything - fire or missile - I’m running.”

The Tigers later said it was just a mechanical fire in a janitor closet - and it was quickly extinguished. But the AL Central leaders had other problems to worry about on Friday night. Phil Hughes shut Detroit out for seven innings, and the Minnesota Twins held on for a 2-1 victory.

Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run single off Justin Verlander (4-2) in the seventh. Hughes (4-1) allowed eight hits in his fourth consecutive win.

Hughes threw 86 pitches, and then gave way to the bullpen. Casey Fien pitched the eighth, and Glen Perkins allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his ninth save in 10 chances.

Hughes said he knew it was time to come out after seven innings.

“Every pitcher has a certain amount of pride. In the seventh, I felt like my stuff and location were deteriorating,” Hughes said. “You don’t want to give the game away just because you’re feeling prideful.”

Verlander allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.

“Pretty good for the first six innings, but I wasn’t great in the seventh,” Verlander said. “I had a couple inexcusable pitches. It wasn’t that I made mistakes, but I got away from the pitches I wanted to throw.”

The start of the game was delayed 27 minutes by rain.

The injury-plagued Twins snapped a three-game losing streak. Star first baseman Joe Mauer sat out a fifth straight game. He’s been dealing with back spasms.

In the top of the ninth, players paused when the emergency alarm went off, but the game continued. Alex Avila hit an RBI double off Perkins with one out in the bottom half, but pinch-hitter J.D. Martinez popped out and Rajai Davis struck out to end it.

Hughes lost 14 games last season for the New York Yankees, but the right-hander has pitched well since signing with the Twins in the offseason. He struck out Avila with men on first and third in the fourth, and got Miguel Cabrera to fly out with two on and two out in the fifth.

“Give Hughes credit,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “He probably threw 95 percent fastballs and cutters - he threw a handful of curves at best - but he was able to keep us off balance.”

Verlander escaped jams in the second and third, but he couldn’t retire Suzuki with the game on the line in the seventh. It was his first loss in his last 10 decisions against the Twins. The last time they beat him was April 27, 2010.

Minnesota is also without outfielder Josh Willingham, who has a left wrist contusion, but the Twins were able to beat the Tigers without any extra-base hits.

NOTES: It began to rain hard in the top of the fifth, but there were no more weather delays once the game started. … Detroit’s Victor Martinez had his hitting streak snapped at 11 games. … Hughes threw 13 straight strikes to start the game. … The Tigers transferred the injury rehab assignment of RHP Luke Putkonen (right elbow) from Class A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo. … Detroit’s Max Scherzer (4-1) faces Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson (3-2) on Saturday.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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