The Minnesota Twins slapped seven runs over the first three innings to put away the Detroit Tigers. After former Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter (pictured above) hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning, the game was in the books. The Twins took the series lead with Saturday's 9-5 win over the Tigers.
"When you're really trying to beat a team that's kind of had your number and the losses keep mounting, it just seems like the pressure builds a little bit and I think that was alleviated a little bit by what we did last night," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said.
In the second and third innings, a single, double, double and triple set the stage for the Twins. Aaron Hicks, Danny Santana and Kurt Suzuki all delivered with two RBI on the day. Meanwhile, Hunter racked up two of his own later in the game.
"You've got to have kids in college to do that," Hunter said, as his son and Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver, Torii Hunter Jr., sat next to him in the clubhouse.
Alfredo Simon took the mound for the Tigers, but did not make it past the third inning. He finished with seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits over 2.1 innings pitched. Simon, who struck out only one Twin, took the loss and is now 8-6 with a 4.53 ERA.
The Detroit offense came in the fourth, fifth and seventh. In the fourth, Victor Martinez hit his fifth home run of the season. Sadly, in the fifth inning he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Later in the fourth, James McCann, who got the start over Alex Avila, ripped a two-run single.
Yoenis Cespedes continued his hot streak with a ground rule double to deep center, which scored Rajai Davis.
After the game felt like it was all wrapped up, Jefry Marte grounded out, but picked up an RBI.
"The Hunter home run took a little of the wind out of the sails. You feel like you're chipping your way back in the game. You've got a few innings left," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Phil Hughes got his eighth win of the season and improved himself to a 4.32 ERA. Hughes went five innings giving up four earned runs on eight hits. It was not an outstanding outing, but the Twins gave up the support he needed.
In the bottom of the eighth, Neftali Feliz, who the Tigers picked up from free agency today, pitched a one inning shutout. He gave up one hit and struck out one. It was his first game in a uniform other than the Texas Rangers.
The Tigers are eight games back of the Kansas City Royals for first place in the American League Central. The Twins moved within 4.5 games of the Royals.
"We could've very easily come out flat or whatever and felt like we wasted it all last night, but, no, we were right back at it," Brian Dozier said. "It's a good thing with this team, man. Every time we step on the field we're ready to win the ballgame. Real gritty and right from the get-go."