DETROIT (AP) -- Nine years later, Eddie Guardado surpassed his mentor.
The Minnesota Twins reliever set a team record with his 43rd save in a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
When Guardado joined the Twins in 1993, Rick Aguilera was one of the first players to help Guardado adjust to life in the majors. Guardado tied the record set by Jeff Reardon (1988) and Aguilera (1991) the previous night.
"Aggie was right there with me and he showed me the ropes and what to expect in the big leagues," Guardado said.
"Everyday Eddie" saved the victory for Joe Mays, who allowed three hits in six innings.
"I've been with Eddie for a long time," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, a coach for the team from 1991 until last season. "I saw him when he first came up as a kid. I liked his attitude. I liked the way he has no fear. Just, 'Give me the ball."'
Mays (4-7), born in nearby Flint, struck out two and walked one. He is 9-3 with a 2.24 ERA against the team from his home state.
"I got lucky tonight," said Mays, who is 7-0 in his last nine starts against Detroit. "Just tried to sink the ball."
Mays missed three months because of an inflamed right elbow. In his first start after coming off the disabled list on July 20, he beat Detroit 14-4.
"He's one of those pitchers who knows how to pitch," Detroit first baseman Carlos Pena said. "He uses his stuff to his advantage and he makes the right pitch."
Mays' performance was encouraging for the Twins, who are trying to set up their rotation for the playoffs.
"That's what we wanted to see. He was feeling great out there," Gardenhire said. "He said that's the first time in a long time that he actually felt perfect out on the mound -- he felt he had complete control of all of his pitches. That's what we wanted to see. That kind of a tuneup."
He added that Mays will be pitching every fourth day for the remainder of the season.
"I knew I was on a pitch count. I knew I'd be coming back on three days rest," Mays said. "so I was trying to throw the ball over the plate to give my fielders a chance to keep them on their toes and also go out there and get my work in."
Steve Sparks (8-16) allowed two runs on eight hits in eight innings.
"Sparks pitched a great ballgame and he deserved a win for the outing he had," said Pena.
Minnesota scored in the first inning on Matthew LeCroy's RBI single and on Luis Rivas' RBI double in the eighth.
The Tigers' best chance to score came when Pena walked and Robert Fick singled to lead off the seventh, but Hiram Bocachica fouled out to first attempting to bunt and Eric Munson and Chris Truby both struck out.
Detroit loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Fick ended the inning by popping to short.
"We got our chances late again, but we couldn't come through," Tigers manager Luis Pujols said.
Notes: Pena stretched his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.