Cabrera powers Tigers past Twins 10-7 after Hughes gets hurt
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit two of Detroit’s four home runs, no-doubt drives that gave the star slugger a pair of satisfying jogs around the bases.
James McCann had to hustle for his. The inside-the-park shot and the first of his career put the rookie catcher, oh, a mere 393 homers behind Cabrera.
With a variety of sources and styles, the Tigers produced a powerful rally for a 10-7 victory Wednesday to take the series from the Minnesota Twins.
“That’s the beauty of this team,” McCann said. “Up and down the lineup, guys can hurt you left and right. That’s a great thing to have.”
McCann’s two-run drive tied the game in the sixth inning for the Tigers, who trailed Phil Hughes and the Twins 7-3 after a seven-run burst against Shane Greene over the fourth and the fifth.
Hughes finished five innings before being removed because of a mild left hip flexor strain, and Cabrera and J.D. Martinez hit home runs in the sixth off Tim Stauffer. Aaron Thompson relieved with two out and one on, when McCann’s deep fly eluded center fielder Jordan Schafer and ricocheted sharply along the warning track.
By the time Oswaldo Arcia retreated from shallow right field to retrieve the ball, McCann was rounding third.
“I’ve never run that far in a baseball game before,” McCann said.
Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) got four outs for the victory, and Joakim Soria notched his ninth save in as many attempts with a scoreless final inning. Casey Fien (1-2) was the bad-luck loser in the eighth, when he should’ve escaped without a run. Trevor Plouffe called for a harmless pop-up that bounced on the mound in front of five Twins. Three batters later, Andrew Romine hit the go-ahead RBI single.
Plouffe said he lost the ball in the sun until the last second.
“By the time I did see it I called for it and I was in no position to catch it,” he said. “But it’s a play I have to make.”
Joe Mauer drove in runs with a double and a single, Arcia hit a two-run homer and Plouffe had a three-run shot for the Twins, who also hit three bunt singles in their own diverse attack on Greene.
But then Hughes started to see double. Five Tigers in a stretch of seven at-bats delivered two-base hits, including run-scoring doubles by Cabrera and McCann.
“We’re always in a game,” said second baseman Ian Kinsler, one of six players with at least two hits. “I think it helps our pitchers that they understand that, that as long as they can keep us close and keep us in the game we’ve got a chance to win, we’ve got a chance to explode.”
Hughes, still winless after five starts, finally pitched with a lead after Greene failed to finish the fifth for the second straight time. Greene has allowed 18 hits and 15 runs over his last two turns, but with 17 hits the Tigers picked him up.
“The long ball will hurt you, no matter who’s out there,” Twins manager Pauli Molitor said.
The upside to an inside-the-park shot serving as a player’s first career home run is the elimination of potential negotiating with a fan who grabbed it in the seats. In this case, the Tigers simply asked the umpire for the ball. McCann said he’ll keep it on a shelf next to his first career hit.
He also said his legs felt fine. His lungs, though, needed time to recover.
“It was maybe an out or two into the next inning, and I was still out of breath from running that far,” McCann said.
Tigers: Rajai Davis played center field, following a two-game absence due to tightness in his right groin.
Twins: Schafer left in the sixth inning with a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Fien’s previous shoulder injury resurfaced in the ninth, prompting his removal during a plate appearance.
The Tigers move on to Kansas City for a four-game series starting Thursday. Alfredo Simon will take the mound, trying to stay unbeaten with his new team, after allowing a total of two runs over his last three starts. Danny Duffy will start for the Royals.
The Twins stay home for a four-game series beginning Thursday against Chicago, pitting Trevor May against White Sox ace Chris Sale. This will be the first performance in front of paying customers for the White Sox in four days. Their first two games in Baltimore were postponed and the third against the Orioles was played in an empty ballpark because of safety concerns in the city.