Cruz, Sano helping Twins beat up on AL Central foes on road

With six games remaining, the Minnesota Twins’ magic number to clinch the American League Central Division is down to three.

If recent history is any indication, the Twins won’t need any help from Cleveland to pop the bubbly.

Minnesota has two series remaining: at Detroit from Tuesday-Thursday and at Kansas City this weekend. Let’s start with this – the Twins are 45-25 (.643) against division opponents this season. Only Minnesota teams in 2002 (.667) and 2010 (.653) have fared better.

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On the road, the Twins are 21-11 (.656) against AL Central foes, the best in-division road record in Minnesota history. The only better mark away from home against any division was vs. the AL West in 1970 (31-14, .689).

Minnesota is 5-2 at Comerica Park this season and 4-2 at Kauffman Stadium.

By the way, the Twins are the only team with 50 road victories this season (50-25 entering Tuesday night). Tampa Bay is next at 47-31.

Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sano have helped lead the way for the Twins away from home. Sano has a .654 slugging percentage on the road and Cruz .630. Those rank second and fifth in MLB for highest slugging percentage on the road. Only Oakland’s Matt Olson (.667) is higher than Sano, while Houston’s Alex Bregman (.654) and injured Angels superstar Mike Trout (.635) are above Cruz.

The Twins have especially feasted on Tigers pitching in the seven games played at Detroit, boasting a team slash line of .321/.378/.554 with 63 runs (9.0 per game) and 16 home runs.

Cruz is 16-fo-32 (.500) with four home runs. Catcher Mitch Garver has only 14 at-bats but has seven hits with three homers. Jorge Polanco has a team-high 14 hits (.438 batting average).

Like we said before, it’s a three-game series and Minnesota’s magic number is three. Hmmmmm.

Other notes:

— Minnesota’s starter on Tuesday, Jake Odorizzi, is third in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings in September (min. 15 innings) at 14.63.

— Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull has a 3-15 record but is 0-10 at home. He’s looking to avoid becoming just the second pitcher in 100 years to have no wins at home with 10+ losses (the Red Sox’s Paul Zahniser was 0-10 at in 1926).

— Right-handed hitters have a swing-and-miss rate of 64.7% against Minnesota’s Tyler Duffey over the last 30 days, which is the best percentage among right-handed pitchers over that span.

Statistics courtesy Sportradar, baseball-reference and Inside Edge