EditorsNote: Adds third graph with Twins’ standing
Granite’s HR highlights 8-run eighth as Twins rout Tigers
DETROIT -- A big inning was big for the surging Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota scored eight times in the eighth inning Saturday night, capped by rookie Zach Granite’s three-run homer, to earn a come-from-behind 10-4 victory over Detroit that was the Tigers’ sixth straight loss.
The Twins lead Texas, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels by 4 1/2 games for the American League’s second wild-card spot.
”That’s a really good win,“ Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”It didn’t look particularly good. (Tigers’ starter Matthew) Boyd’s been on a good run. He had us baffled a little bit.
“Doz (Brian Dozier) had the bunt to lead off the game. ... He got another single but I think we only had two hits going into the seventh inning before we got the double and the single to cut it to one.”
Ervin Santana (16-8) gave up four straight hits at the start of the game but only three thereafter in his seven innings, during which he struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. Santana retired 18 of 20 after the first inning.
”Give Ervin a lot of credit,“ Molitor said. ”It looked like he had a little rough start. He didn’t catch many breaks. Couple balls painted down the right field line. Couple other things that happened.
”But he settled in really nicely and other than the changeup he kind of left up for (Efren) Navarro he had a solid seven innings for us.
“I‘m glad we’re able to pick up a win for the team first and get another for Ervin in his win column too.”
Alan Busenitz pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Gabriel Moya the ninth to finish the win and make Minnesota’s lead in the American League second wild-card chase four games over Texas, which played later Saturday. Moya gave up Navarro’s second home run of the game leading off the ninth.
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson took a line drive single by Joe Mauer off his right leg to start the eighth, threw one warm-up pitch and crumpled to the ground. He limped off the field with help and was replaced by Daniel Stumpf. X-Rays showed a non-displaced fracture of near Wilson’s right ankle.
”It was numb at first, and then it kinda felt warm,“ Wilson said. ”I was walking around the mound to see whether or not I was going to be able to go. I squatted down, and was able to do that. Of course, it wasn’t on the weight-bearing bone.
“So, really, it had no effect. Then I tried to throw a pitch, and I felt a pop. And, obviously, that was the end of the night. And, that’s when the pain really started shooting through.”
Jorge Polanco greeted Stumpf (0-1) with a single to right and Eddie Rosario forged a 3-3 tie with a single to left. Eduardo Escobar blooped an RBI single into right center to put Minnesota ahead, 4-3.
Reliever Joe Jimenez hit a batter and caught a line drive before giving up a two-run line single to center by Robbie Grossman, making it 6-3. The Twins got another run on a groundout to second by Jason Castro.
Granite, who pinch-ran for Mauer earlier in the inning, completed the eight-run inning by hitting his first major league home run, off Blaine Hardy. Granite’s three-run blast went to right field.
Granite became the first Minnesota Twin to pinch-run and hit a home run in the same inning and the first major leaguer to do so since 2001.
“Unfortunate for them that their guy gets knocked out,” Molitor said. “Not surprisingly Joe’s the guy to get us going. That was a huge hit leading off the inning there and Polanco followed up with a good at-bat and Rosie. One after another, next thing you know we put eight up there.”
The Twins cut the gap to 3-2 and chased Boyd in the seventh. Ehire Adrianza, an early sub for injured Max Kepler, doubled to left center with one out and scored when Grossman followed with a single.
Boyd, in his first start since his near no-hitter Sunday, lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. The first run he allowed was unearned.
“He’s been outstanding,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of his lefty. “He’s been much better since he cleaned up his mechanics. The last two outings have been superb. He got us deep in the game. We just had trouble getting the ball to (closer Shane) Greene.”
Navarro entered the game when Miguel Cabrera left after one inning with a lower back strain. He cranked a high changeup into the seats in right for his first home run to put the Tigers ahead, 3-1, with one out in the sixth.
Detroit opened its half of the first with four straight hits good for a 2-1 lead against Santana. Ian Kinsler doubled to right and scored on a ground single to right by Alex Presley. Cabrera blooped a single near the line in right and Nicholas Castellanos plopped an RBI single into short left.
Dozier gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead to open the game with a bunt single to third on which he ended up scoring when Jeimer Candelario threw the ball past first for a three-base error. The error was his fourth in nine games.
NOTES: Tigers OF Mikie Mahtook’s return this season is doubtful after he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain suffered Friday night, a recurrence of an injury that struck him earlier this month. ... Twins manager Paul Molitor says RHP Bartolo Colon is set to open Minnesota’s three-game series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. ... RHP Jeff Ferrell of Detroit, struck on the head by a line drive Monday night, remains in MLB’s concussion protocol with no time set for a possible return. ... RF Max Kepler was removed from Saturday night’s game after one inning and being examined for a left hip injury.