Upton strains calf, hopes for quick recovery

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers left fielder Justin Upton

Detroit — Justin Upton climbed the fence in left field and reached as far as he could, but alas, he could not quite steal a home run from the Twins' Brian Dozier in the third inning Monday.

“Well if my arms were a little bit longer,” Upton said, when asked how close he came to catching the ball. “But they aren't. I think it was pretty close.”

Turns out, it was just about the last play Upton made. He came out of the game after three innings with a left calf strain.

“It's kind of one of those things that has been brewing the past couple days and I finally pushed myself too far,” he said. “I’ll get some treatment on it and see how it feels.”

After Dozier’s home run, Upton fielded a single by Robbie Grossman. He felt pain in his calf when he went to throw the ball toward the infield.

“Yeah, I mean, it didn't feel good,” he said. “I didn't really feel good planting on that foot. I just didn't want to make a mistake out there.”

Upton said he hopes he’ll be able to play Tuesday night.

Norris throws gem

As usual, Tigers starter Daniel Norris was his harshest critic following his career-best 11-strikeout performance.

“As far as the strikeouts go, yeah, it was good,” he said. “But you look at the home runs and it’s frustrating. I wanted to keep the lead and I ended up not doing that.”

Norris went 6.1 innings and the only damage against him were solo homers by Dozier and Kurt Suzuki.

Game of inches: Tigers slide by Twins

Dozier got on a 94 mph fastball and Suzuki hit a slider.

“I thought he was good,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “The fastball was coming out of his hand real good. It was crisp. It was getting on hitters up top. It was getting swings and misses.

“Early on, the slider was real good. He had some chases in the dirt on that. I would imagine it's one of the better outings he's had at the big-league level.”

Santana tough, again

Twins right-hander Ervin Santana came into the game with a 9-3 record in 17 starts against the Tigers and a 3.14 ERA. He was also on a run of 13 out of 14 starts allowing three runs or less.

He was the same as he ever was. The Tigers mustered three hits, the only run coming on Ian Kinsler’s leadoff homer.

Hard-nosed Kinsler wants to finish career in Detroit

“He's so professional,” said Andrew Romine, who had a double off him. “He's been around for so long, you know he's not going to give up. He's not going to give in and he's not going to be easy as the game goes on. Some guys give up more hits as the game goes on. He's not one of those guys.

“He's the same all the time. He knows what he's doing.”

Around the horn

…Jose Iglesias appeared to be in some pain after he slid home with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. He was. “The belt that he has is kind of thick and it can roll over when he makes a dive in the field,” Ausmus said. “It happened in Chicago, too. When he (slides) there it kind of rolls over and digs into his abdomen.”

…Kinsler’s seven leadoff homers this season ties the Tigers record held by Curtis Granderson. He has 39 career leadoff home runs, which is seventh most in Major League Baseball history.

Twitter @cmccosky