This one started off in full Togers fashion. A bunt from Brian Dozier turned into a run when Jeimer Candelario whipped an ill-advised throw up the line and into foul territory. Dozier raced all the way around to score, and the Twins led 1-0.
The Tigers came right back, however. Ian Kinsler led off with a double, and came around to score as Alex Presley, Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos singled consecutively. Presley scampered home on the Castellanos hit to make it 2-1. Miguel Cabrera exited the game after looking pretty uncomfortable running the bases.
One of the few bright spots has been the turnaround of one Matthew Boyd, and that story continued on Saturday. Boyd featured a firm fastball that touched 94 mph with regularity, locating it down, and busting quite a few Twins hitters inside with it as well. Much like in his no-hit bid last weekend, Boyd used liberal doses of breaking balls to steal first pitch strikes and keep the Twins off balance.
He cruised through six innings, allowing only two hard hit balls in total, punching out Dozier to end the fifth for his fifth strikeout on the evening. He came right back in the sixth to put down Joe Mauer on strikes, and when Eduardo Escobar flew out to right to end the frame, Boyd was only at 84 pitches.
Ervin Santana had settled in after the first innings, matching Boyd most of the evening. However, Efren Navarro broke through to launch his first home run of the season—and first in the majors since 2014 —in the sixth, making it 3-1.
Boyd finally faded a bit in the seventh. Three line drives in a row led to a out, a run and a man on first. Jason Castro lined out to JaCoby Jones, who continued to cover an awful lot of ground in this one. With Boyd at 100 pitches, Brad Ausmus came out to get Boyd, wrapping up another fine outing. Brian Dozier crunched Drew VerHagen’s first pitch, but Jones casually ran it down just short of the warning track.
The Tigers held on until the 8th. Joe Mauer led off the inning with a line shot that fractured Alex Wilson’s right fibula. Wilson quickly popped back up, and even attempted a test pitch—like a maniac—but was replaced by Daniel Stumpf. The big lefty did what he does, fall behind hitters and give up singles. After Stumpf blew the lead, Joe Jimenez came in and pitched much like Stumpf had. Guys, it doesn’t matter how good your fastball is if you fall behind every hitter and can’t command a breaking ball. Anyway...
That was about it. Blaine Hardy came in to clean up, and did so by allowing a three run bomb to finally clear the basepaths. The Twins led 10-3 after eight innings. Brad Ausmus may be reconsidering his decision to stick around at this point.
Artie Lewicki escaped a self-induced jam in the ninth. Efren Navarro hit his second home run of the game in the bottom half of the frame, but that was all the Tigers could muster.
Matt Boyd: Another promising start. Pray that he can carry this into 2018.
Efren Navarro: A two home run night is an insta-roar.
JaCoby Jones (fielder): Was all over the park running down balls. Mr. Jones is as legit a center fielder as the Tigers have had since early Austin Jackson.
Daniel Stumpf and Joe Jimenez: Pitched scared, and paid for it.
JaCoby Jones (batter): Oh god, please hit JaCoby, I need that glove in my life.
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