MLB: Twins get boost with win at Detroit
DETROIT -- The Minnesota Twins' quest for a wild card spot now moves to Cleveland. Meantime, the Detroit Tigers are going to Texas, the Chicago White Sox and then home. Brian Dozier's two-run double in the middle of a six-run second inning Sunday...
DETROIT - The Minnesota Twins’ quest for a wild card spot now moves to Cleveland.
Meantime, the Detroit Tigers are going to Texas, the Chicago White Sox and then home.
Brian Dozier’s two-run double in the middle of a six-run second inning Sunday sparked Minnesota to a 7-1 victory over Detroit that kept the Twins in the thick of the fight for the second American League wild-card playoff spot.
The Twins are 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the wild-card standings.
“It’s good,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said after his team took two out of three from Detroit. “You keep trying to find ways to win.
“Now it’s on to Cleveland - and they’re right behind us. We’ve got to try to figure out a way to get it done there. And we’re going up against some awfully good pitching.”
“In my mind, I was thinking back to a year ago when we were coming up the stairs ready to dump champagne on each other,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s a much better feeling.
“Baseball’s a difficult game, more than it looks on paper at times. As much as you like to prognosticate in February and March, that’s why you have to play ‘em.
“I do have confidence (about next year). We weren’t really a team for more than a couple days all year, in terms of having everyone (healthy).”
Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf was one of the stop-gap starters Detroit called on when the Tigers traded southpaw David Price and then saw starting right-hander Anibal Sanchez and newly acquired lefty Daniel Norris go down with injuries.
Wolf (0-5) was smacked for six runs (two unearned) and six hits before he could complete the second inning. Left-hander Kyle Ryan shut out the Twins for 4 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Ervin Santana (7-4) shut out Detroit on four hits until doubles by left fielder Tyler Collins and shortstop Josh Wilson gave the Tigers a run in the seventh.
Santana finished the seventh and wound up walking two while striking out five. Right-hander Michael Tonkin worked the eighth and ninth for the Twins.
“Ervin seemed like he was in control,” Molitor said. “But he gave up a couple of hits in that first inning and first inning seems to be huge for him.
“It was good to see us attack Wolf. We had some big hits in that inning, for sure. We weren’t able to add on, though, until that home run.”
Third baseman Eduardo Nunez singled to begin the Minnesota second inning and was safe at second when Detroit shortstop Josh Wilson muffed a ground ball for an error.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki blooped an RBI single into short left and rookie center fielder Byron Buxton lined an RBI double to right center before Dozier drove in two runs with a double into the left field corner.
Left fielder Aaron Hicks lined an RBI single to left and veteran right fielder Torii Hunter completed the six-run inning with a run-scoring single to left.
Buxton got his first major league home run, a liner to left off right-hander Jose Valdez in the eighth.
“I don’t know which was better,” Molitor said, “Buxton’s first home run or (designated hitter Miguel) Sano’s first triple.”
Texas is still playing meaningful games so Detroit will trot its best lineup out but when the Tigers visit the White Sox it will be a lineup featuring younger players as the organization begins building for 2016.
“An offseason can repair a lot in baseball,” Ausmus said. “It can repair player psyches on an individual basis, it can repair psyches on a team basis. That’s the great thing about opening day, everybody’s 0-0 and you don’t know how it’s going to end up. So I think that the offseason can be huge, for individuals and a unit.”
NOTES: 3B Trevor Plouffe did not play for Minnesota on Sunday because of illness that is making its rounds on the team. ... Manager Brad Ausmus put C Alex Avila in Detroit’s starting lineup Sunday because it might be the impending free agent’s last home game for the Tigers. He doubled and walked. ... Manager Paul Molitor kept impressive rookie LF Eddie Rosario out of the Twins’ lineup because he didn’t want the left-handed hitter facing Tigers veteran LHP Brad Wolf. ... The Tigers will take SS Jose Iglesias on their last road trip because he might be able to pinch run.