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Tigers 4, Twins 2: Daniel Norris’ sterling start secures a close win for Detroit

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Miguel Cabrera’s eighth-inning home run helped, but the bullpen was equally key in keeping Detroit ahead.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

DETROIT — Daniel Norris was in a firey mood on Monday, and his strikeout-happy start displayed as much. The Tigers’ offense woke up long enough to lock down a 4-2 win over the Twins, but it wasn’t without two-out, two-on dramatics from Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth.

After a solid effort in his last start, Norris stepped it up a notch. The offense, still in the doldrums of a long slumber, did little more than playfully paw at Ervin Santana. For six innings, only Ian Kinsler got to him in any meaningful way and with only three hits on the whole, Norris couldn’t afford to make many mistakes.

Fortunately for Detroit, Norris’ only two mistakes were solo home runs between 11 strikeouts and a two-seam fastball that featured a backdoor edge to it. He obliterated his previous career high for whiffs and was unhittable for much of the game.

In the first two innings of Monday night’s affair, Norris struck out 5-of-6 batters — all on swinging third strikes. He had 10 swings and misses in that time alone. After dispatching his 11th batter to end the sixth, Norris started the seventh at 101 pitches — to the surprise of most. But that came with a short leash and was pulled after a one-out single.

As luck would have it, though, the offense came alive in the seventh and eighth innings as the Tigers scored three to put Detroit ahead. Andrew Romine, while he had just one hit, was crucial to get the offense going with a walk, and he scored from first to tie the game. Cabrera’s solo shot in the eighth sealed the deal with a decent bullpen showing.

ROARS:

Daniel Norris: Put forth a fine effort for the Tigers, allowing just five hits on two runs (both solo shots) in 6 13 innings of work. He also struck out 11 batters.

Ian Kinsler: Knocked Santana’s fifth pitch out of the park for a solo home run.

Miguel Cabrera: Hit a 400-foot oppo-shot in the eighth to extend the Tigers’ lead.

Brad Ausmus: He had a short leash with the bullpen, and managed it well throughout. While he let Norris start the seventh, it was with a limit. The first batter to reach ended his night.

HISSES:

Tigers offense through six innings: The bats tempted fate yet again, as they failed to get more than three hits. Their only run for six innings came in the first on Kinsler’s solo home run.

Shane Greene and K-Rod: Greene got the out in the seventh, but he also hit the first one he saw, and then walked two in the eighth for a tricky situation. Luckily, he got yanked right away. K-Rod got two out and then put two aboard as he lost the strike zone, before finally escaping with another save.

STATS AND INFO:
  • Daniel Norris’ 11 strikeouts marks a career high. His previous high was eight batters, which he set on June 29, 2016 in five innings of two-run work against the Marlins.
  • Kinsler's first-inning home run was his 26th of the year. That marks the most homers he's hit in a season since he finished with 32 in 2011.
  • Miguel Cabrera’s home run in the eighth was his 32nd of the year. He’s 12 away from his career-high of 44 dingers in a single season.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:

Source: FanGraphs