Live Tigers blog: Detroit bats dominate in 9-2 win

Bruce Mason
The Detroit News

Eighteen hits. Five Tigers had multi-hit games. Every Tiger in the lineup had a hit.

Detroit won its third straight game Friday with a 9-2 triumph at Minnesota that featured the Major League debut of right-hander Michael Fulmer, who earned the win with five solid innings.

Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez (4-for-5, two RBIs) and Nick Castellanos (3-for-4, three RBIs) belted solo home runs.

Fulmer, the top prospect in the Tigers organization, gave up two earned runs on seven hits in five innings. His fastball hit 97 mph on the radar gun and he had four strikeouts versus one walk.

Apparently last weekend’s sweep delivered by the Cleveland Indians awoke the Tigers bats. Ever since, Detroit has recorded 56 hits and 33 runs in five games.

The Tigers scored three runs in the opening inning off Minnesota right-handed starter Phil Hughes (1-4), who was pulled after five innings and allowed seven hits.

Tigers left fielder Justin Upton was 3-for-5 and J.D. Martinez hit an RBI double.

Anthony Gose (2-for-4) and Bobby Wilson (2-for-5) had an RBI apiece to help the Tigers win for the fourth time in five games.

Top 9: Onslaught continues

The offensive onslaught continues in the ninth. The Tigers lead 9-2.

Victor Martinez (4-for-5) led off the inning with a double, Justin Upton (3-for-5) singled, and Nick Castellanos (3-for-4) singled to record his third RBI of the night.

Every Tiger has a hit. Detroit has 18 hits tonight, which amasses to 56 in the past five games.

Twins reliever Fernando Abad entered the game to face the Tigers’ Bobby Wilson, who hit an RBI single that was misplayed by centerfielder Danny Santana.

It’s Martinez’s first four-hit game since July 6, 2015.

Bottom 8: VerHagen gets 2 Ks

Detroit reliever Drew VerHagen threw a scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth, preserving the Tigers’ lead.

VerHagen struck out Miguel Sano (95-mph, four-seam fastball) and Oswaldo Arcia (88-mph changeup).

Top 8: VMart, Castellanos belt homers

Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos each belted a solo homer in the top of the eighth off Twins reliever Casey Fien, a former Tiger (2009-10).

From there, Mike Aviles singled off Fien, ending his night — but not the Tigers offense.

Twins reliever Alex Meyer entered the game and gave up a hit to catcher Bobby Wilson, and Anthony Gose followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers a 7-2 lead.

That's Victor Martinez's fifth homer of the year and the third for Castellanos.

Every Tiger has a hit. Detroit has 14 hits tonight, which amasses to 52 in the past five games.

Bottom 7: Another scoreless inning for Justin Wilson

Tigers left-handed reliever Justin Wilson (0.00 ERA) maintains his dominating start to 2016 with another scoreless inning.

Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki drew a leadoff walk — a rarity against Wilson, who entered the game with 12 strikeouts versus one walk in 9.0 innings.

Suzuki advanced to second base with one out when Danny Santana grounded into a fielder’s choice. But Wilson managed to end the inning with back-to-back strikeouts to Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer.

Wilson fell behind 3-0 in the count to Dozier, but earned a strikeout on a 91-mph cutter.

Top 7: Twins' Sano makes highlight-reel catch

Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler (.344 batting average) hit a leadoff single against Minnesota right-handed reliever Casey Fien, but J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play.

Then a highlight-reel play happened: Twins right fielder Miguel Sano made a diving catch to rob Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera of a base hit and end the inning.

The Tigers lead 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh.

Bottom 6: Fulmer pulled on 93 pitches

Tigers right-handed reliever Alex Wilson produces a 1-2-3 inning.

It was a solid debut for Tigers right-handed rookie Michael Fulmer, who gave up two earned runs in five innings. He had four strikeouts versus one walk and gave up seven hits.

Both runs relinquished by Fulmer came with two outs. He threw 93 pitches (61 for strikes) and induced seven groundouts.

Miguel Cabrera is congratulated by Victor Martinez after his solo home run in the fifth inning.

Top 6: Aviles stranded at third

Twins left-handed reliever Ryan O’Rourke threw a wild pitch that advanced Mike Aviles to third base, but Anthony Gose flied out to end the inning.

Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos singled and Aviles walked to start the inning against Minnesota right-handed reliever Michael Tonkin. But Tigers catcher Bobby Wilson grounded into a 5-3 double play, and Tonkin was pulled for left-handed reliever Ryan O’Rourke.

Gose’s pop up nearly eluded Twins defenders. Centerfielder Danny Santana had to make a sliding catch underneath shortstop Eduardo Escobar.

The Tigers have a base runner in every inning.

Tonkin entered the game for starter Phil Hughes, who gave up four earned runs on seven hits in five innings.

Hughes, who had four walks in 25.1 innings entering tonight, issued two. He had two strikeouts.

Bottom 5: Twins cut deficit

Tigers right-handed rookie starter Michael Fulmer yielded his first walk and extra-base hit of his Major League career — and it cost him another run.

Fulmer issued a one-out walk to Brian Dozier, who scored all the way from first base when Miguel Sano belted a two-out, RBI double to cut the Tigers lead to 4-2.

Tigers shortstop Mike Aviles ended the inning when he snagged a sharply-hit grounder from the Twins’ Byung Ho Park, and threw him out at first base.

Fulmer has given up seven hits and two earned runs in five innings. He has four strikeouts and one walk on 93 pitches.

Top 5: Miggy blasts solo homer

Two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera has success against a host of pitchers.

Minnesota starter Phil Hughes is one of the most notable victims — as he learned again in the top of the fifth.

Cabrera belted a 90-mph, four-seam fastball to the opposite field for his sixth career homer off Hughes. It gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead in the top of the fifth.

Cabrera is 18-for-41 lifetime for a .439 average against Hughes. It was his fourth homer of the season.

Victor Martinez (2-for-3) singled, but Justin Upton grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Bottom 4: Fulmer yields RBI single

The Twins end the shutout bid of Tigers right-handed rookie Michael Fulmer, who gave up a two-out, RBI single to shortstop Eduardo Escobar.

Fulmer struck out right fielder Miguel Sano with a high fastball at the letters, then induced a ground out from designated hitter Byung Ho Park. There were two outs in the inning, but Oswaldo Arcia and Eduardo Nunez followed with consecutive singles to center field to set the table for Escobar.

Fulmer, who posted impressive numbers in Double-A (2.14 ERA) and was named the Eastern League Player of the Year in 2015, has given up six hits — all singles. He has four strikeouts and no walks on 73 pitches.

Top 4: Gose reaches base again, but stranded

Tigers No. 9 hitter Anthony Gose reached base for the second consecutive plate appearance, this time drawing a two-out walk. But Ian Kinsler popped out to end the inning.

Minnesota starter Phil Hughes yielded four walks in 25.1 innings entering tonight, but he has two through four innings. (Hughes had 16 walks in all of 2015). He’s thrown 69 pitches.

On Thursday, Gose had a double and two-run homer against Oakland.

Tigers shortstop Mike Aviles struck out and catcher Bobby Wilson popped out to start the inning.

Bottom 3: Fulmer strands runner at second

Tigers right-handed rookie Michael Fulmer faced his first stressful situation in the big leagues: Two runners on base and one out.

And he escaped with another scoreless frame.

Minnesota’s Kurt Suzuki and Danny Santana hit back-to-back, one-out singles. (Santana’s ground ball glanced off the wrist of Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, but it was ruled a single.)

But Fulmer recovered by inducing a popout from Minnesota’s Brian Dozier and a groundout from Joe Mauer.

Fulmer has three strikeouts and no walks. He’s thrown 49 pitches (35 for strikes).

Top 3: Upton 2-for-2

Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (2-for-2) swatted a two-out single, but Twins starter Phil Hughes ended the inning by inducing a groundout from Nick Castellanos.

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez flied out to start the inning.

Bottom 2: Fulmer 3 Ks 

Tigers right-handed rookie Michael Fulmer is showing the dazzling reasons why he’s the top prospect in the franchise.

Fulmer had two strikeouts in the second inning. He struck out Twins designated hitter Byung Ho Park (96-mph, four-seam fastball), then fanned left fielder Oswaldo Arcia with a 94-mph, four-seamer that broke to the outside of the plate.

Third baseman Eduardo Nunez popped out to end the frame.

Fulmer has three strikeouts.

Top 2: Gose singles, but stranded

Twins right-hander Phil Hughes yielded a one-out single to Anthony Gose, but ended the inning without giving up a run.

Ian Kinsler flied out and J.D. Martinez, a career .380 hitter at Target Field, popped out to end the inning.

Tigers catcher Bobby Wilson struck out to start the inning (90-mph, four-seam fastball).

Bot 1: Fulmer throws scoreless inning

Tigers right-handed rookie Michael Fulmer had a comfortable, 3-0 lead as he took the mound in his Major League debut and exited with a scoreless inning.

Fulmer, who hit 97 mph on the radar gun with his four-seam fastball, threw 19 pitches (13 for strikes). He induced two groundouts.

The highlight: Fulmer struck out Twins second baseman Brian Dozier on four pitches, the last being an 89-mph slider.

Twins first baseman Joe Mauer singled on a 10-pitch at-bat.

Top 1: Detroit strikes three times 

The Tigers scored three runs off Minnesota right-hander Phil Hughes in the opening inning.

Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez belted his fifth double of the year to give Detroit a 1-0 lead. Martinez belted a 91-mph, four-seam fastball deep to center field to score Ian Kinsler, who drew a leadoff walk and stole second base, uncontested.

Victor Martinez followed with an RBI single and Nick Castellanos hit a sacrifice fly.

Hughes had four walks in 25.1 innings entering tonight.

Tigers left fielder Justin Upton singled in the inning.

Revamped lineup bats in first

Twenty hits. Sixteen runs. Back-to-back wins. That’s the damage inflicted by the Tigers’ revamped lineup featuring J.D. Martinez in the No. 2 hole.

But can it continue in Minnesota against right-hander Phil Hughes (1-3, 3.91 ERA)?

He will face Ian Kinsler, Martinez and Miguel Cabrera in the top of the first.

How to watch: Tigers vs. Twins

The Tigers look to extend a modest two-game win streak when they open a three-game series Friday against the Twins at Target Field (8:10, FSD/97.1).

Right-hander Michael Fulmer, who came over from the Mets in the deal for Yoenis Cespedes last July, makes his major league debut for the Tigers. The highly touted prospect was 1-1 with a 4.11 ERA in three starts at Triple A Toledo where he struck out 20 and walked five in 15⅓ innings.

Fulmer starts in place of Shane Greene, who was moved to the disabled list with a blister on his right throwing hand. Right-hander Phil Hughes (1-3, 3.91) counters for the Twins.

The Tigers continue to show signs of coming out of their April doldrums at the plate, pounding out 11 hits in a 7-3 win over the A’s Thursday. Anthony Gose homered and doubled, Jarrod Saltalamacchia tripled and Nick Castellanos doubled twice.

While much has been made of the Tigers' bonehead baserunning, J.D. Martinez and Miguel Cabrera combined to swipe a run during the fourth inning.

Cabrera was on first and J.D. Martinez on third when Victor Martinez hit a short fly to left. J.D. Martinez, who didn't tag up since the pop fly was too shallow, snuck down the third-base line. Once the relay throw went to the third baseman on the infield grass, Cabrera bolted to second to draw a throw there as Martinez raced home.


1. Ian Kinsler, 2B

2. J.D. Martinez, RF

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B

4. Victor Martinez, DH

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. Nick Castellanos, 3B

7. Mike Aviles, SS

8. Bobby Wilson, C

9. Anthony Gose, CF

Michael Fulmer, SP


1. Danny Santana, CF

2. Brian Dozier, 2B

3. Joe Mauer, 1B

4. Miguel Sano, RF

5. Byung Ho Park, DH

6. Oswaldo Arcia, LF

7. Eduardo Nunez, 3B

8. Eduardo Escobar, SS

9. Kurt Suzuki, C

Phil Hughes, SP


What: First of a three-game series

When: Friday, 8:10 p.m.

Where: Target Field

Local TV: FSD

Internet streaming: MLB.TV

Local radio: 97.1 FM

Satellite radio: Sirius, SIRI 214; XM, XM 180; SiriusXM, SXM 180 (Internet 849)