The Twins scored first, the Detroit Tigers countered with four runs early, but it was a five-run fifth that finally propelled the Twins to an 8-5 victory over the lowly, but suddenly scrappy team from Motor City.
The Twins won, but so did those Cleveland Indians, so the Twins’ lead in the American League Central still stands at 2.5 games.
Starting pitching continues to struggle. Kyle Gibson did just enough to get the win, but he also served up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits in five-plus innings. However, he didn’t walk a batter and had eight strikeouts. The bullpen pitched scoreless baseball the rest of the way, including ace lefty Taylor Rogers, who earned the five-out save, his 20th of the season, on 23 pitches.
The big bopper of the night was Miguel Sano, who drilled a three-run home run, his 26th, into the second deck at Target Field during that key five-run fifth. Max Kepler hit his team-leading 35th home run and outfielder, Jake Cave, who has filled in for the injured, Byron Buxton, hit a two-run home run late to seal the win.
Martin Perez gets the ball Sunday in the rubber match. Somehow, some way, Perez needs to break this streak of sub-par outings from the starting rotation. The Tigers will counter with a decent pitcher in Matthew Boyd.
-The Twins appear set to attract about two million fans this season, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The team ranks fifth in the American League in attendance at 1.85 million. More than 39,000 fans attended Saturday’s game.
-After Sunday’s game, the Twins hit the road to play the White Sox, Tigers and Red Sox. But perhaps that’s where they need to be. The Twins are a mere nine games over .500 at home, but are 18 games over .500 on the road.