DETROIT (Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Wednesday to move within a whisker of the American League Central title.
Detroit (85-73), who have not won a division title since 1987, will get the chance to wrap up the AL Central on Thursday when they take on the Twins (82-76) in the last of their four-game series.
"Hopefully we can play well enough to get it done because that was a big win," Tigers catcher Gerald Laird told reporters.
"This was a huge win, we really wanted to come in and get this one."
Eddie Bonine pitched five innings to get his first win of the season and Magglio Ordonez delivered a three-run double in the fifth as the Tigers stretched their lead to three games over the second-placed Twins with four games remaining.
Twins starter Carl Pavano, who had racked up four wins without defeat in Detroit this season coming into the game, completed 4 2/3 innings and left after Ordonez's double.
"We laughed before the game, Pavano had already beat us so has to loose sooner or later," said Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge.
"He's a great pitcher but it was crucial that we got a couple runs against him after they led. It was a fun game; at this point we can't get too tight, we have to stay relaxed."
The Twins had led 2-0 after the first inning but Inge doubled in two runs to tie the game and Ramon Santiago made it 4-2 with a single in the second.
Jason Kubel and Delmon Young had RBI singles in the first but top hitter Joe Mauer, coming into the game with a Major League-best .367 batting average, finished just 1-for-4.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)