Twins drop series opener against Tigers
MINNEAPOLIS — Victor Martinez has called Detroit home for the last six seasons. He looks just as comfortable hitting at Target Field.
Martinez hit two home runs and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 6-3 on Friday night.
His 11 career homers at Minnesota’s ballpark are tied for the third-most by a visitor, just three behind Salvador Perez and Jose Bautista.
“It’s one of those things, I guess,” Martinez said with a shrug.
Anibal Sanchez (2-0) gave up three runs and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 5 2/3 innings for the Tigers, who lost star Miguel Cabrera to a right clavicle contusion in the fourth inning. Cabrera had X-rays that were negative and he is listed as day-to-day.
Cabrera took a hard-hit grounder from Robbie Grossman off his chest in the fourth inning. He finished the inning in the field, but Andrew Romine pinch-hit for him in the fifth.
“I don’t expect it to be anything long-term,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Justin Wilson pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances.
Ervin Santana (11-7) had his shortest outing of the season for the Twins. He gave up five runs and seven hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Martinez had his first multihomer game of the season and 11th of his career for the Tigers, who are 14-1 in their last 15 games at Target Field.
The Tigers bullpen of Daniel Stumpf, Shane Greene, Bruce Rondon and Wilson pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball after Sanchez left in the sixth inning. The lone hiccup came from Stumpf just as he entered the game when his errant pickoff throw sailed past first base and allowed Eddie Rosario to advance all the way to third. But he struck out Ehire Adrianza to end the threat and the Twins went quietly after that.
“Days where we get a lead we should hold them,” Wilson said. “We did it tonight. Just need to keep it up.”
The Twins fell 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central as the trade deadline approaches.
Santana gave up at least five earned runs for the fourth time in his last seven starts. Martinez hit a solo homer in the second inning and a two-run shot in the fourth, and the right-hander’s night ended not long after a wild pitch allowed Mikie Mahtook to score for a 5-0 lead.
“There have been some games where his numbers get a little crooked,” manager Paul Molitor said. “You could tell he was laboring a little bit. It wasn’t his best night.”
Mahtook had two hits and a RBI.
Adrianza had a two-run single in Minnesota’s three-run fourth, but that was it for the Twins.
Tigers: Mahtook rolled his right ankle while trying to get back to second base in the second inning and came up limping. He was ruled out on a tag from Brian Dozier and hobbled back to the dugout, but was able to remain in the game.
Twins: LHP Hector Santiago’s bullpen session went well on Friday, Molitor said. Santiago has been on the disabled list with a back issue and Molitor and will pitch twice for Triple-A Rochester next week. . . . CF Byron Buxton will not need a rehab assignment and is likely to join the team on Tuesday, Molitor said.
The Twins hosted a weekend celebration for the 30th anniversary of the 1987 team that won the franchise’s first World Series title. Many of the players from that team were in attendance, and the Twins kicked things off by unveiling a statue for Tom Kelly, the manager of both World Series-winning teams in ’87 and ’91.
Kelly stood next to the 8-foot tall statue and joked, “I knew I managed during the steroids era. I just didn’t know I took any.”
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-7, 5.58 ERA) goes for the Tigers in Game 2 on Saturday night. Zimmermann is coming off one of his better outings of the season, striking out seven and allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings of a win at Kansas City.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (5-8, 6.29 ERA) goes for the Twins, with his spot in the rotation potentially hanging in the balance. The Twins have been shopping for starting pitching and Gibson is one of the candidates to be replaced should they be successful.