Twins power past terrible Tigers
DETROIT — Manager Paul Molitor says the Minnesota Twins are not done yet
Eduardo Escobar hit a three-run home run and Jorge Polanco a solo shot Sunday to lead the Twins to a 10-4 thrashing of the Detroit Tigers and a sweep of their four-game series.
Minnesota, which began day with a 4 1/2-game hold on the American League’s second wild card spot, is off Monday before starting a thre- game series in Cleveland. Detroit has lost seven straight and is 4-20 in September with six road games left.
“It was a really nice response from the guys in terms of coming in here (after getting swept in New York by the Yankees),” Molitor said. “Think everyone has expectations that you’ll play well and find a way to win your share.
“We ended up getting all four which was huge given the timing and where we were at, all those type of things. The offense was very consistent throughout. The last time (Saturday) we had to scramble late to do it but we put up a lot of points on the board and pitching was plenty good.
“But we’re not done. We’ve got to keep going.”
The Twins scored 39 runs in sweeping the four-game set but it was against a Detroit rotation shredded by injury and the trade of Justin Verlander plus a bullpen peopled by inexperienced pitchers clearly not ready for the big show.
“I’m disappointed in the way the season went,” said Detroit manager Brad Ausmus, who won’t return next season. “When you start the season, every team is hoping for big things.
“And it didn’t work out that way this year. Certainly not for lack of effort, but disappointing.”
Joe Mauer hit a two-run double to left-center field in the sixth inning and scored when Escobar hit his three-run home run, his 20th, as Minnesota bumped its lead to 10-2.
Ian Kinsler hit a two-run home run, his 22nd, with two out in the ninth to make it 10-4.
Jose Berrios (13-8) almost didn’t make it through the fifth to qualify for the win. He ended up pitching five innings, allowing five hits and two runs with two walks and six strikeouts.
“He looked good,” Ausmus said. “He’s got kind of an explosive fastball and two good breaking balls.”
“Jose was sharp early,” Molitor said. “He ran into trouble and gave up a couple kind of scratch runs there but we got ‘em right back.”
Detroit scored one run on a wild pitch by Berrios in the fifth and Alex Presley’s bloop single to left brought Detroit to within 5-2. Nicholas Castellanos plopped a single to right but Berrios got the third out on a drive to deep left to keep Molitor from going to his bullpen.
“He got down to his last guy before we were going to make a change and he got us off the field,” Molitor said. “And I thought that was enough for the day.”
Alan Busenitz pitched an inning for the Twins while Ryan Pressly got two outs, Taylor Rogers one, and Michael Tonkin worked the eighth and ninth to finish the game.
Mauer singled to right and Polanco doubled to right center, both runners scoring on a groundout to second by Eddie Rosario plus a bloop single to right center by Escobar, making it 5-0 for the Twins.
The first five runs were charged to starter Buck Farmer (4-5), who allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out five in five innings.
Second-inning singles by Jason Castro, Kennys Vargas and Brian Dozier produced a 2-0 Minnesota lead in the second. Vargas doubled after a one-out walk in the fourth and Zach Granite drove a sacrifice fly to right to up the lead to 3-0.
Polanco hit his 12th home run of the season with two out in the first. The solo shot went to right, a Farmer fastball that caught too much strike zone and gave the Twins a 1-0 lead.
NOTES: 1B Miguel Cabrera was out of the Detroit Tigers’ lineup Sunday and an MRI exam disclosed two herniated discs in his troubled lower back. He may not be done for the year. ... RF Max Kepler, who hurt his side in the first inning Saturday night, did not start for the Minnesota Twins on Sunday but said he was available to pinch-hit. ... 3B Nicholas Castellanos made his first start at third base for Detroit since Sept. 1. He has been playing right field since then. “He’s still taking ground balls at third,” manager Brad Ausmus said.