Strong start for Santiago, but Twins fall short against Tigers
DETROIT — After two starts this season, Matthew Boyd already has both extremes covered.
Boyd allowed one hit in six outstanding innings, and James McCann homered in the fifth to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. It was quite a turnaround for Boyd, who was pulled from last week’s outing in the third inning but took a no-hitter into the sixth this time.
“It was good,” he said. “It’s nice to come back and put your team in a position to win. That being said, there’s room to grow.”
Boyd (1-1) did not allow a hit until Robbie Grossman lined a clean single to left field with two out in the sixth. The Detroit left-hander struck out six and walked two before turning the game over to the bullpen. Tigers relievers have struggled so far this season, but they were able to close this game out.
Francisco Rodriguez allowed a run in the ninth but recovered for his third save in four chances. Pinch hitter Max Kepler hit a popup with two on to end it.
Hector Santiago (1-1) allowed only three hits in 6 1/3 innings, but one of them was a two-run shot by McCann.
Boyd recovered nicely after giving up five runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first start of the season against the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers picked him over the more experienced Anibal Sanchez for a spot in the rotation, and they’ll hope this start was more indicative of what he’ll provide going forward.
“He shut us down pretty good,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We didn’t adjust, I didn’t think, particularly well, in terms of outs on offspeed. Between his changeup and breaking ball — he mixed in some fastballs, but he got a lot of outs on his offspeed.”
Detroit pulled even with the Twins atop the AL Central and has won four of five.
McCann, who hit 12 home runs last season, has provided some power for the Tigers in the early going with Miguel Cabrera struggling. His one-out drive to left in the fifth gave Detroit a 2-0 lead. It was his third homer of the year.
Jason Castro hit an RBI single with one out in the ninth for Minnesota, but right fielder Mikie Mahtook made a nice play to cut the ball off in the gap and prevent him from going to second.
“That was a huge play,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “That could be the difference in the game. We could still be playing right now.”
Pinch hitter Joe Mauer followed with a bloop single to left, but Rodriguez retired Eddie Rosario on a flyout before Kepler’s popout.
Cabrera went 1 for 3 with a walk. He’s now 3 for 24 with no extra-base hits on the year.
Minnesota’s Byron Buxton struck out in all three of his plate appearances and is now 2 for 29 with 17 strikeouts. His spot came up in the ninth, and Kepler was sent up to hit instead.
The Tigers have homered in each of their first seven games of the season, the second time they’ve done that since 1913. The other time was in 2014.
Twins: Closer Brandon Kintzler had a cracked nail during Sunday’s win over the Chicago White Sox. The team was off Monday, and he did not pitch Tuesday with Minnesota trailing. He was warming up in the bullpen while the Twins batted in the ninth.
Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus said OF J.D. Martinez (sprained right foot) swung in the batting cage Monday.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson takes the mound Wednesday against Detroit. He had a no-decision in his first start of the season, Thursday against Kansas City.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer starts for Detroit. He threw six scoreless innings Friday against Boston but did not factor into the decision.