The Detroit Tigers continued their mastery over the Minnesota Twins with a tense 5-4 victory on Monday night. Early offense gave the Tigers needed protection against their own sloppy baserunning late in the game, and the Tigers are now 4-0 over the Twins and 11-2 over the A.L. Central division.
The Tigers offense erupted right out of the gate against soft-tossing Twins' starter Tommy Milone. Jose Iglesias, batting in the two-spot in the lineup for the first time this year, launched a solo home run in the first inning. Yoenis Cespedes followed four batters later by crushing a three-run shot to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead before many fans had found their seats. Detroit put plenty of runners on-base, but were just 1-for-8 on the night with runners in scoring position. The Tigers were also caught three times attempting to steal.
David Price (2-1) was not at his best in his fifth start of the season, struggling at times with his command against a weak Minnesota Twins offense. Price poured fastball after fastball at Twins' hitters, repeatedly hitting 96 mph, but couldn't efficiently find the strike zone. He still struck out seven and walked two, surrendering three runs in just 6 1/3 innings of work. Alex Wilson came on to finish the the seventh and escaped with no further trouble in the inning.
The standard Tigers bullpen terrors found their place on Monday evening in the eighth inning. After allowing a leadoff double to Joe Mauer, Joba Chamberlain surrendered a two-out single to Kurt Suzuki, tightening the score to just 5-4 in favor of the Tigers. Joakim Soria came on to close it out in the ninth, and while a leadoff single to Jordan Schaefer made it tense, Soria was able to retire the next three batters. Torii Hunter bounced out to third for the game's final out and Soria now has eight saves on the young season.
Yoenis Cespedes: A three-run shot in the first inning and a double in the fifth powered the Tigers' offense to victory.
Jose Iglesias: The Tigers' shortstop continues to rake with a three-hit night, including his first home run of the 2015 season. Much more than just a brilliant defender, Iglesias continues to do damage with the bat as well.
The Offense with Runners in Scoring Position: The Tigers got the job done, but stranding seven runners in scoring position and getting thrown out three times trying to steal won't fly in most games.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Jose Iglesias' first inning HR was his first since September 8, 2013 against the Kansas City Royals.
- The Tigers' grounded into three double plays and now lead the majors with 24 total, three more than the second place Baltimore Orioles.
- Yoenis Cespedes now has six doubles and four home runs through 20 games. In the last 10 games, Cespedes is batting .313/.361/.656 with three home runs, two doubles and 12 RBI. It was his seventh multi-hit game of the season.
- In the seventh inning, Brad Ausmus unsuccessfully challenged the call after Miguel Cabrera was called out attempting to steal third base on Twins' reliever Blaine Boyer.
- Hernan Perez, getting a start at third base in place of Nick Castellanos, stole his first base of the season and just the second of his MLB career. The first came on July 22, 2013 against the Chicago White Sox.
- Ian Kinsler has yet to hit a home run this season. His 20-game homerless streak is the longest of his career to open a season.
- Jose Iglesias' three hits marked his sixth multi-hit game, and second three-hit day, of the season and extended his hitting streak to five games He has now hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, and is batting .366/.435/.561 with a home run, three doubles and a triple in 47 plate appearances. It was his first multi-hit game since his two-hit day on April 17 against the Chicago White Sox. Iglesias finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle on Monday night.
- Iglesias triple in the seventh inning put the Tigers into a three-way tie for the MLB lead in triples. It was Iglesias' first since a 3-for-5 game on June 21, 2013 against the Boston Red Sox.
- Three Tigers were caught stealing, giving them eight on the season. This puts them in a three-way tie for second-most, along with the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Miami Marlins lead the majors with nine runners caught attempting to steal.
- The Tigers now lead the majors with 22 stolen bases.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: