Detroit’s young starting battery combined for two of the better games of their careers, and the Tigers leave Minneapolis a little cleaner than it was when they arrived after winning 8-5 to complete a sweep of the Twins.
Catcher James McCann and Victor Martinez led the charge with three hits apiece. McCann had a single, double and home run before the fifth inning ended, giving him a couple of chances at hitting a triple for the cycle. (He has hit six triples in his career, so it wasn’t impossible to think he could hit another.) He fell a bit short, adding another single but also grounding into a double play. Still, a great performance for the Tigers’ catcher. Martinez, meanwhile, hit two doubles and drove in a pair of runs.
At one point the Tigers led 8-0 after a nice start by starting pitcher Daniel Norris, who pitched into the seventh inning for the first time in a limited number of starts this season. He allowed two runs on five hits, but didn’t walk any, didn’t give up any home runs and struck out five. His day finished at 93 pitches and arguably his best start of the season.
The bullpen sullied the final score a bit, but the ever-streaky Tigers have now won four straight games to get within spitting distance of the AL Central leading Indians and stay within range of a wild card spot. They return home Friday to host the Angels.
James McCann — Hit a majestic 428-foot, three-run home run ... off a right-handed pitcher! A double in the fifth inning — his third hit of the game — meant McCann had a shot to hit for the cycle. He went 4-for-5 for the day but fell short.
Victor Martinez — Went 3-of-4 with a double and a lot of hustle. Plus he walked!
The rest of the offense, really -- Hard not to single half a dozen players out. Tyler Collins took three walks. Kinsler knocked in some runs. The team scored more than eight runs for a fourth straight game.
Daniel Norris — Pitched into the seventh, allowing two runs on six hits and no walks. He struck out five. From the second to the sixth inning he got 11 consecutive batters out.
Tigers bullpen! — We had a nice calm 8-2 game after 7 1⁄2 innings. And then Kyle Ryan allowed three baserunners and Justin Wilson didn’t help strand any.
STATS AND REACTIONS:
- The Tigers scored eight runs in four consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 1-4, 2011.
- This was McCann’s first career four-hit game.
- Norris got 11 consecutive batters out from the second to the sixth innings.
- This is the first time Norris pitched into the seventh inning since Aug. 12., 2015, when he also went 6 1/3. He threw 93 pitches, his second-highest number of 2016.
- J.D. Martinez went 0-for-5, ending his hitting streak at 14 games. His last game without a hit came Aug. 8. He went 26-for-58 (.448/.492/.776) in between hitless games.
- The Tigers are 10-2 against the Twins this year and have won eight straight games in Minneapolis, dating back to Sept. 15, 2015. They have three more games there this season.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: