The Detroit Tigers ended their nine-game road trip on a high note, blowing out the Minnesota Twins 13-4 at Target Field on Sunday. The Tigers benefitted from a pair of crucial Twins errors, and four of their 13 runs were scored as unearned. Michael Fulmer earned his second win of the season with a stellar seven-inning performance.
After Ian Kinsler was nailed at home plate to snuff out a Tigers scoring threat in the top of the first, the Twins took an early lead in the bottom of the frame. Brian Dozier led off with a hustle double, then advanced to third base on a groundout. Miguel Sano pinged a single off the end of his bat into right field to score Dozier. Joe Mauer then singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Fulmer was able to escape further damage with a pair of strikeouts.
The Tigers wasted no time regaining the lead. Justin Upton led off the second inning by reaching on an error from Twins left fielder Danny Santana — the same fielder who threw out Kinsler in the first. Alex Avila made Santana and the Twins pay immediately with a towering two-run homer to right-center, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The Tigers offense broke the game open following a quick second inning from Fulmer. With two on and one out, Victor Martinez singled to center field — his second hit of the game — to score Kinsler. Upton walked to load the bases, then Avila struck out. The recent call-ups came through, though. Jim Adduci hit a two-run double into the left field corner, then John Hicks added two more runs with a single to right, chasing Twins starter Kyle Gibson to the showers.
That would be more than enough offense for Fulmer, who shut the door from there. He buckled down to limit the damage in the first, then retired nine of the next 10 batters he would face over the next three innings. Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario took a Fulmer fastball into the left field seats for a solo homer in the fifth, but that hardly fazed the reigning AL Rookie of the Year. He ultimately retired 20 of the final 22 batters he faced, and struck out seven in seven strong innings.
The Tigers offense wasn’t done, though. They took advantage of more shoddy defense from the Twins in the sixth, adding three more runs. Minnesota reliever Michael Tonkin looked as if he had escaped a jam, but a strike-three slider slipped through catcher Jason Castro’s legs, and Castellanos was able to reach base while two runs scored. Victor Martinez lined the next pitch into the left-center field gap for his first extra base of the year, scoring Castellanos for the Tigers’ 10th run of the game.
Jim Adduci: It’s pronounced Ah-doo-see, but I’m calling him Adduci Mane (named after this guy) if he keeps this up. The veteran call-up started the game 2-for-2, and his two-run double in the third helped break the game open for the Tigers. He added a third hit in the ninth, and was worth .165 WPA for the game.
John Hicks: The Tigers’ other injury replacement had a monster game of his own, including an RBI double that extended the lead to 7-1 in the third and a three-run homer in the ninth. He did ground into two double plays, though...
Michael Fulmer: Things didn’t look good early for Fulmer, but he was razor sharp from there, limiting the Twins to two runs on just four hits and one walk in seven innings.
Tyler Collins: I was hoping for a clean day, but Collins’ 0-fer in the second spot of the lineup was noticeable.
Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez has allowed 17 runs (13 earned) in 10 2⁄3 innings this season.
STATS AND REACTIONS:
- I did not like the decision to send Kinsler home on Victor Martinez’s single in the first inning. Santana was playing shallow in left, and has a strong throwing arm. With him charging a ball that was knocked down by Sano, Kinsler did not have a great chance of scoring.
- Adduci looked great in his first two at-bats, but looked overmatched against Twins lefty reliever Buddy Boshers in the fifth. He might just be a platoon bat for now.
- Andrew Romine is just 3-for-29 since hitting a grand slam against the Twins on April 12. He drew a pair of walks in this game, but is getting on base at a .187 clip since that date.
- Remember how bad the Tigers looked defensively in their series against the Tampa Bay Rays? The Twins’ defense handed all of that back in this game.
The Tigers struck out four times in the sixth and scored three runs. Been that kind of day for the Twins— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) April 23, 2017
- Anibal Sanchez has allowed more runs (17) and home runs (5) than any other pitcher on the team.