Twins, Tigers split
MINNEAPOLIS — With 42 hits through the first three games of the series against Minnesota, the Detroit Tigers continued their offensive assault — posting 18 hits in the final game of a four-game set in a 13-4 win over the Twins on Sunday at Target Field.
The 60 hits in a four-game series were the most for Detroit since 1956 and were the most allowed by the Twins in a four-gamer in franchise history.
“The four games here, the bats really picked up the pace,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “Hopefully we ca carry that into the next series here.”
The Tigers broke open a tie game with three-straight two-run innings beginning in the fifth.
Twice, designated hitter Victor Martinez was in the middle of the action, giving the Tigers the lead for good with an RBI single in the fifth inning, then hammering his 25th homer of the season with two outs in the sixth.
“That ball was on the white line (of the batter’s box),” said Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson. “Pretty incredible. Combination of strength and just being pretty good. It’s impressive.”
The 25 homers for Martinez tie a career-high he set as a member of the Cleveland Indians in 2007.
Center fielder Rajai Davis added a two-run homer of his own — his seventh — in the seventh inning to make it 9-3.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a little while now,” Ausmus said. “It was nice to see the bats explode a little bit.”
Right-hander Max Scherzer got the win, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings, improving to 15-4.
Gibson was responsible for five runs on eight hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings, dropping to 11-10. He has allowed at least five runs in three of his last four starts.
“Early on, it felt like it was going to be a start to get me back on track,” Gibson said. “They had a couple of plays where I was down in the zone and they put them in the right spots.”
Martinez and shortstop Eugenio Suarez each had three hits to pace the Tigers. Five others had two hits and every starter had at least one.
Martinez and right fielder Torii Hunter each knocked in four runs, including a bases loaded triple by Hunter in the eighth inning after Twins right fielder Oswaldo Arcia misplayed a line drive.
Hunter hit safely in nine of Detroit’s 10 games here at Target Field this season, including multi-hit efforts in eighth of those games. He knocked in 11 runs in those games and batted .528.
After watching the Twins score 32 runs in the first two games of the series — both Minnesota wins — Detroit came back with 21 of their own in the final two.
“It hurts, the way we lost those games,” Martinez said. “But that’s something we have done before. You keep your head up and keep grinding, keep going up there and having good at-bats and trying to put up runs.”
Detroit took an early lead, scoring three runs in the third inning on back-to-back singles by second baseman Ian Kinsler and Hunter. Martinez knocked in another on a fielder’s choice.
The Twins got all three back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run double by center fielder Danny Santana and a run-scoring single by second baseman Brian Dozier.
Santana had two hits and the two RBIs. Designated hitter Kennys Vargas had three hits. The two rookies each have at least 30 hits this month, becoming the Twins’ first rookie teammates to have 30 hits in a month since 1975. They are the first rookies in all of baseball to accomplish the feat this season.
NOTES: Tigers 1B/DH Miguel Cabrera was not in the lineup Sunday after aggravating a sore right ankle Saturday. With an off-day Monday, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus thought having two days off in a row would help Cabrera. ... Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez, on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 9 with a strain in his right pectoral, could return as soon as Saturday in a doubleheader against Chicago. The right-hander is scheduled to throw Monday and off a mound two days later if all goes well. ... Tigers RHP Joakim Soria was scheduled to throw for a second straight day Sunday. He has been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 10 with a left oblique strain. ... Twins RHP Yohan Pino reported soreness behind his right throwing elbow following a five-inning performance in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. Pino was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game but will remain in the Twin Cities to get treatment.