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Tigers 9, Twins 4: Detroit’s big bats come alive in 3rd consecutive win

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Miguel Cabrera and Justin Upton combined for six hits and five RBI in their win over Minnesota.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers have largely had their way with the Minnesota Twins ever since Target Field opened in 2010. Part of that is the demise of the Twins franchise — they are on pace for their fifth 90-loss season since opening their new park — and part is the Tigers’ recent run of dominance. May the Metrodome rest in pieces.

Anyway, the Tigers continued their hot hitting at Target Field on Wednesday, clubbing starter Tyler Duffey and the Twins bullpen to the tune of nine runs on 14 hits in a 9-4 win.

Miguel Cabrera led off the scoring with a solo homer to deep center field in the first inning, but the lead wouldn’t last long. Tigers starter Matt Boyd struggled to find the strike zone in the bottom of the first. He allowed a run on three singles and a walk, and could have been on the hook for more had Andrew Romine not turned a spinning double play at second to end the inning. Just 10 of Boyd’s first 20 pitches were for strikes, though he corrected that ratio to 16 strikes in 28 pitches by the end of the frame.

Luckily, Boyd settled down afterward. He retired the side in order in the second, and worked around a couple of solo homers in the coming innings. Robbie Grossman took Boyd deep to left field in the third, and Brian Dozier hit his 30th homer of the season in the fifth (more on that one in a moment), but that’s all the damage the Twins could manage against Boyd. He allowed three runs on five hits and struck out seven.

Of course, it was easy for Boyd to get into a groove after the Tigers offense handed him a five-run lead in the third. Cabrera hit a two-out double off the wall in right center to score Maybin, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead at the time. After Victor Martinez was intentionally walked, J.D. Martinez singled to left to score Cabrera. Six pitches later, Justin Upton launched a missile into the seats in left-center, stretching the lead to 6-1.

After the Twins pulled within three, the Tigers stretched their lead again with three runs in the eighth. J.D. Martinez and Casey McGehee sandwiched singles around an Upton strikeout, and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Andrew Romine came through with another two-out hit, scoring both runners. Romine advanced to third base on an errant throw that went out of play, and scored easily on a Maybin single in the next at-bat.

The win improves the Tigers’ record to 67-59. They are now tied with the Mariners in the wild card race, and pulled closer to the Indians, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, all of whom lost on Wednesday.

ROARS:

Miguel Cabrera: It took a video review for one, but Cabrera notched his second three-hit game against the Twins in as many nights. His homer to dead center in the first inning was an absolute bomb, and he would have had another were it not for the monstrous wall in right-center at Target Field.

Justin Upton: Everything off his bat is a missile right now.

Matt Boyd: Considering how he started the game, a run-of-the-mill quality start was about as good as one could ask for from Boyd. He is still getting bit by the home run ball, but struck out seven in six innings.

HISSES:

Erick Aybar: An 0-for-5 night was going to happen at some point.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia: He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but deserves some credit for how he helped Boyd navigate through his outing.

STATS AND REACTIONS:
  • The double play that Andrew Romine turned in the first inning was easily the biggest play of the game. While the Tigers ultimately scored nine runs in the win, things could have been much different if that first inning snowballed on them.
  • Boyd settled down in a big way after the double play in the first, and seemed to shake off both solo homers well.
  • Casey McGehee’s wRC+ was 27 before his single in the eighth.
  • It’s a lot easier to complain about this after a win, but Brian Dozier’s homer in the fifth probably should not have happened.
  • This is what a white-hot Justin Upton looks like.
  • Yu Darvish hit a home run tonight. This has nothing to do with the Tigers’ win, but feels noteworthy.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs