MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Javier Báez and Spencer Torkelson each had two hits and drove in two runs to help the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 8-4 on Thursday night for just their second victory in 13 games.
Matt Vierling was 3 for 3 with a run and an RBI for the Tigers. They have scored at least five runs in a season-high five straight games.
“I think all in all, falling behind and still maintaining our discipline, drawing a couple of walks, trying to work the ball to the middle, we drove the ball to the opposite field ... a lot of guys did some good things,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
Matthew Boyd (4-5) survived a four-run second inning for the victory. He walked one and struck out eight over six innings.
“More than anything, I knew I had good stuff today,” Boyd said, “so we were just going to stay the course, keep attacking the way we can. Just because they hit a few mistakes and it worked out, I’m not going to change what the gameplan is.”
Donovan Solano homered for the Twins. They had won four of their previous five.
Relievers Will Vest, Jason Foley and Alex Lange each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the Twins, who went 2 for 23 after Solano’s home run in the second inning gave them a 4-1 lead.
Twins starter Sonny Gray labored through four innings, including a 35-pitch fourth that spelled the end of his night. Reliever Jovani Moran (0-2) replaced Gray and gave up three runs in the fifth.
“It’s never an easy call to take out a starter at that point in the game with a pitcher like Sonny, because he does compete," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “And he does fight through situations really well - even when he’s not quite feeling like himself. ... But at that point in the game, with what I was watching, that’s the decision I absolutely thought was the right decision in the moment.”
Detroit’s go-ahead rally began with one-out singles by Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter. Báez followed with a line drive into the alley in left-center that rolled all the way to the wall for a tying two-run triple.
Báez used his speed again to give Detroit the lead. With Minnesota’s infield drawn in, Nick Maton hit a two-hopper to second baseman Kyle Farmer. Báez left on contact, however, leaving Farmer no choice but to throw to first base to retire Maton.
“We wanted to be super-aggressive,” Hinch said. “Obviously it takes a little bit of luck in that situation - where the ball’s hit, how hard it’s hit, is it right at the guy - those are tough plays. I know Javy’s going to do everything right. He’s going to be a very smart baserunner.”
The Tigers added three insurance runs with two out in the ninth when Torkelson hit a two-run double and came around on Zack Short’s double.
Torkelson has seven hits and six RBIs in his last four games.
“Execution is the greatest key, and the confidence is growing for him because he’s in control of his at-bats,” Hinch said.
The Tigers got on the board with a two-out rally in the second. After Gray retired the first two batters, Andy Ibáñez worked a full-count walk. He moved up a base on Miguel Cabrera’s single and scored on Matt Vierling’s base hit.
The Twins answered immediately with a two-out rally of their own. Willi Castro’s RBI single it, and Solano followed with a long fly ball that carried into the bullpen for a three-run homer.
BRING THE PAIN
The game drew 27,570 fans, not a bad crowd considering the air quality alerts throughout Minnesota this week. Most of the crowd stuck around for a postgame concert by rapper T-Pain.
Twins: DH Byron Buxton was back in the lineup hitting and hitting in the cleanup spot. He was activated earlier in the day after missing two weeks with bruised ribs.
RHP Joe Ryan (7-3) is set to start for Minnesota against Detroit on Friday night. He's coming off a no-decision in Toronto, when he gave up three earned runs over six innings. Detroit hasn't announced a starter, though Hinch confirmed after the game that Friday would be a bullpen game for the Tigers staff.
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