With one last chance to move up in the standings before the All-Star break, the Detroit Tigers got off to a good start on Thursday evening. The Tigers beat the Twins 4-2 thanks to Ian Kinsler's three-RBI game and eight strong innings from David Price.
The Tigers got on the board early, when Kinsler hit Twins starter Mike Pelfrey's second pitch of the game into the left field seats for a solo home run. The homer was just Kinsler's third of the season, and his 48th run scored. Price ran into trouble in his first two innings, allowing the first two batters to reach base in each inning. He was able to work out of trouble, though. Price struck out Miguel Sano and induced a Torii Hunter groundout in the first, then struck out Shane Robinson before Jose Iglesias turned a dazzling play at short to end the second.
After Price worked out of another jam in the fourth, his luck finally ran out in the fifth. Brian Dozier hit a sharp liner that glanced off of Nick Castellanos' glove for a two-base error. Joe Mauer grounded out to advance Dozier to third, then Trevor Plouffe rocketed a single back through the box to tie the game. Castellanos' rough defensive inning continued later on when Torii Hunter hit an RBI single off Castellanos' glove to give the Twins the lead.
The Tigers tied the score in the top of the sixth after Anthony Gose and Iglesias singled to lead off the inning. With runners on first and third, Kinsler grounded into a fielder's choice to score Gose. The Tigers were unable to take the lead, though. Yoenis Cespedes popped out and Victor Martinez struck out, stranding Kinsler at first.
The score remained tied until the top of the eighth, when Kinsler played hero once again. After Marc Krauss singled to lead off the inning, Anthony Gose doubled to deep center field. Krauss was forced to hold up for a moment at second base when Aaron Hicks nearly caught the ball, and was thrown out at the plate on a questionable send by third base coach Dave Clark. With two outs and Gose on third, Kinsler hit a fly ball off the very top of the left-center wall for a double. Cespedes added an insurance run with an RBI double off righthander Blaine Boyer, who relieved Pelfrey.
Ian Kinsler: He drove in the Tigers' first three runs of the night and reached base three times. His game-winning double in the eighth bailed out the coaching staff from a couple of questionable decisions earlier in the inning, and was very close to being his second homer of the game. His home run in the top of the first earned a congratulatory tweet from Miguel Cabrera.
Yesssss Ian swing upppppp finish upppp— Miguel Cabrera (@MiguelCabrera) July 10, 2015
Jose Iglesias: His lone hit moved Anthony Gose from first to third in the sixth, leading to a run. However, Iglesias' biggest contributions came with the glove tonight. He turned a pair of excellent plays against Brian Dozier, robbing him of two hits.
All-Star shortstop Jose Iglesias #Tigers pic.twitter.com/xirsl28Oqi— Tigers GIFs (@TigersGIFs) July 10, 2015
David Price: Price wasn't his sharpest, but still held the Twins to a pair of unearned runs with eight strikeouts in eight innings. He walked three batters and, with five hard-hit balls allowed in the fifth inning, was lucky to escape with minimal damage. He was at his best in his final three innings, setting the Twins down cleanly.
Nick Castellanos: He has been solid lately, but Bad Castellanos returned tonight. Nick went 0-for-2 at the plate and had an error in the bottom of the fifth, leading to the Twins' first two runs of the night. Castellanos also got his glove on a second liner -- and the play was initially ruled an error before a scoring change later in the game -- but he could have made both plays.
Everyone named Martinez: Both Victor and J.D. were 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. J.D. hit a foul ball into the third deck down the left field line at one point, but otherwise looked overmatched by Pelfrey.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Kinsler's leadoff home run was the 32nd of his career, and his first of the season. He had two leadoff homers for the Tigers in 2014, including one at Target Field on August 22, 2014 against Twins lefthander Tommy Milone.
- The Tigers grounded into two more double plays tonight, extending their league-high total to 92. The Twins have turned 76 double plays this season, which leads the American League. Pelfrey has induced 20 of those double plays, which also leads the league.
- Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez both went hitless, each snapping a nine-game hitting streak.
- Yoenis Cespedes is 11-for-33 with four doubles and two home runs since moving up in the lineup on July 3.
- The Tigers are now 15-3 in games that David Price starts this season.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: