Twins rough up Porcello, Tigers
DETROIT -- The Minnesota Twins wanted to spoil the Detroit Tigers' party, and a couple more games like Friday night could do it. Second baseman Brian Dozier and right fielder Oswaldo Arcia had three RBIs each to help the Twins defeat Detroit 11-4...
DETROIT - The Minnesota Twins wanted to spoil the Detroit Tigers’ party, and a couple more games like Friday night could do it.
Second baseman Brian Dozier and right fielder Oswaldo Arcia had three RBIs each to help the Twins defeat Detroit 11-4 Friday night and stall the Tigers’ drive to a fourth straight American League Central Division title.
Kansas City’s 3-1 victory over the White Sox in Chicago pulled the Royals to within a game of first place in the AL Central with two games left for each team.
The Tigers’ magic number for clinching remained at two, but both Kansas City and Detroit have clinched playoff berths, however.
“This was not a good night for us,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “It wasn’t a good night for our pitching staff overall, but we gotta find a win. We gotta find a way to win, regardless. We’ve got two games to sew this thing up. Right now we’re currently in the lead, so it’s in our hands. We have to do it.”
“We didn’t let Detroit get to celebrate,” said Twins starting right-hander Anthony Swarzak, who fell two outs shy of qualifying for the victory that went to rookie right-handed teammate A.J. Achter (1-0) instead. “That was the main thing. We wanted to play spoiler the whole weekend. And that’s what we did.”
Achter earned his first major league victory in his seventh appearance. He allowed two hits, one being first baseman Miguel Cabrera’s 25th home run, which came in the seventh. Right-hander Lester Oliveros relieved after the home run with lefty Aaron Thompson working the ninth.
Achter was drafted in the 46th round by Minnesota in 2010 following his junior season at Michigan State.
The Twins didn’t offer any money to sign, just the opportunity, so Achter went to the Cape Cod League and pitched impressively, switching to the bullpen. Minnesota gave him $50,000 to sign.
“My first win was against the team I grew up rooting for,” said Achter, who grew up in Northwest Ohio. “I took the game ball and gave it to my mom right away. My dad couldn’t make it. He’s the defensive coordinator (at Sylvania North University High School near Toledo) and he had a game. He already missed one game to see my first major league game.”
Four of the first five batters to face Swarzak in the fifth singled, with second baseman Ian Kinsler and Cabrera getting RBI hits. Achter got designated hitter Victor Martinez to hit a fly ball on a 3-2 pitch that Arcia caught near the right-field fence, a ball that would have tied the score had it gone over. Left fielder J.D. Martinez then flied out to center.
“I hoped it was (out) but I thought it got in on him a little bit, so I wasn’t sold on it,” Ausmus said. “I was just hoping it would carry right into the corner between the wall and foul pole but, came up a little short.”
“He throws strikes, moves the ball in and out,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Achter. “And he threw a nice breaking ball when he had to. He pitches with a lot of confidence. It was great to see him get a win in front of his family.”
Dozier had an RBI single in the first, a solo home run - his 22nd - in the third and an RBI single in the seventh. Additionally, two runs came in when he hit a topper to third that Nick Castellanos threw wildly to first.
Arcia hit a two-run home run, his 22nd, in the first, plus an RBI single in the eighth. Catcher Kurt Suzuki had a two-run single in the seventh and third baseman Eduardo Escobar also drove in a run with a single in the seventh.
Minnesota jumped on right-hander Rick Porcello (15-13), who lasted just 3 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits and walked three, two intentionally. Two of the six runs he allowed were unearned.
Cabrera chased Swarzak in the fifth and also forced out Achter in the seventh when he hit his home run. Victor Martinez had an RBI single in the fourth.
With the game out of hand, Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez made his first appearance since Aug. 8 in only the second relief job of his career. He will work out of the bullpen in the playoffs after recovering from a sore right pectoral muscle.
The Tigers will hand the ball to a rookie starter Saturday, lefty Kyle Lobstein.
“I think with a young guy if I said anything it might make him more nervous,” Ausmus said. “Probably better if I just stay away from him. I’m hoping I can say ‘good job’ some time later in the game.”
NOTES: Whether Minnesota’s Danny Santana plays short or center (or both) next season will be determined between seasons, manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday. ... Rookie LHP Kyle Lobstein is scheduled for his sixth start with Detroit on Saturday. “You could make the argument he’s been our most consistent pitcher lately,” manager Brad Ausmus has said. ... The Twins had scored 257 runs since Aug. 1 entering Friday to rank first in baseball during that period. ... Tigers DH Victor Martinez is hitting nearly double the league average with two strikes on him at .337 entering Friday.