Live Tigers blog: Tigers use big 9th to rout Twins

Geoff Robinson
The Detroit News
Tigers left fielder Justin Upton, right, celebrates with James McCann after Upton hit a solo home run against Twins pitcher Alex Wimmers during the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday in Minneapolis.


It was supposed to be a high-scoring affair with pitching changes early on, but Anibal Sanchez and Pat Dean both bounced back from giving up early runs in the first inning to stage a pitcher's duel through five frames.

With the score tied, 1-1, it became a battle of the bulllpens that the Tigers dominated, winning 7-2 on the back of home runs from Justin Upton and Victor Martinez.

Upton hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh, putting the Tigers up 2-1. After adding an insurance run in the eighth, Shane Greene gave one back to Minnesota in the bottom of the frame.

The Tigers added a run in the ninth with some help from Twins' pitching after reliever Pat Light threw consecutive wild pitches. After the Twins removed Light in favor of Michael Tonkin, Victor Martinez came off the bench to pinch-hit, and he went deep to right field for a three-run home run that gave the Tigers an insurmountable lead at 7-2. Tonkin stayed on for the rest of the inning, laboring while giving up two more runs.

The Tigers and Twins are back at it in the second game of the doubleheader tonight at 8:10 EST.

Top 9th: Tigers 9, Twins 2

J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton drew leadoff walks to start the ninth, but the Tigers gave away the first out of the inning when James McCann unsuccessfully tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. The runners eventually moved up on a wild pitch with Erick Aybar at the dish, and when the Twins tried to give Aybar the intentional walk, reliever Pat Light threw the ball over his catcher's head, scoring Upton from third.

With the score now 4-2 and the Tigers having runners on the corners, Light was pulled from the game in favor of Michael Tonkin. Victor Martinez came on to pinch-hit, hitting the biggest bomb of the night to right field to give the Tigers a seemingly insurmountable 7-2 lead.

Andrew Romine notched an infield single, Cameron Maybin singled to center field and Jose Iglesias drew a walk to load the bases for Miguel Cabrera. With one out, Cabrera drew a walk of his own to stretch the lead to 8-2. J.D. Martinez struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, but the Tigers added another run on a passed ball, bringing their lead to 9-2. Justin Upton flew out to, mercifully, end the inning.

Bottom 8th: Tigers 3, Twins 2

Byron Buxton notched a leadoff single off of Shane Greene, in for his second inning of relief. With a man on for the Twins' most dangerous hitter, Greene was able to get the big out by getting Brian Dozier to pop out to second. Jorge Polanco stepped to the dish and did the damage, however, drilling a one-out RBI double to right center to pull the Twins within a run, 3-2.

Max Kepler grounded out to first for the second out of the inning and Miguel Sano struck out swinging with a man on third.

Top 8th: Tigers 3, Twins 1

Andrew Romine stroked a one-out single to center field off of new Minnesota reliever Buddy Boshers. Romine was able to steal second base and move up to third on a bad throw. Cameron Maybin drew a walk, putting runners on the corner, and Jose Iglesias flew out to left field for a sacrifice fly that gives the Tigers a 3-1 advantage.

Miguel Cabrera grounded out to second to end the frame.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging to leadoff the inning.

Bottom 7th: Tigers 2, Twins 1

Miguel Sano drilled a one-out double to left center, breaking the streak of 13 retired Twins hitters by Tigers pitching.

Alex Wilson was able to get Kennys Vargas to pop out to second before issuing a two-out walk to Kurt Suzuki, prompting Brad Ausmus to go back to the bullpen and bring in Shane Greene, who issued a walk of his own to Robbie Grossman. With the bases loaded, the Twins sent Logan Schafer in to pinch-hit for John Ryan Murphy. Schafer flew out to right center to end the inning.

Max Kepler grounded out to second to leadoff the frame.

Top 7th: Tigers 2, Twins 1

The Tigers bats couldn't manufacture any runs over the last five innings, so Justin Upton decided to do all the work himself, drilling an Alex Wimmers offering well over the center field wall to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead with one out in the seventh inning.

The long ball is Upton's 26th of the season.

James McCann grounded out to third and JaCoby Jones did the same to end the inning.

J.D. Martinez grounded out to third to leadoff the inning.

Bottom 6th: Tigers 1, Twins 1

In an interesting move, Brad Ausmus elected to take out Anibal Sanchez despite the fact he had thrown just 79 pitches and retired nine consecutive Twins' hitters, bringing in Alex Wilson out of the bullpen.

The gamble paid off.

Byron Buxton struck out swinging, Brian Dozier grounded out to shortstop and Jorge Polanco flew out to center field to end the inning.

Top 6th: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Jose Iglesias dropped down a bunt for a two-out base hit to put the go-ahead run on for Miguel Cabrera against Twins reliever Alex Wimmers. The big guy couldn't get it done, however, striking out to end the inning.

Andrew Romine popped out to shortstop and Cameron Maybin grounded out to shortstop to leadoff the frame.

Bottom 5th: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Anibal Sanchez worked another efficient inning, setting the Tigers down in order for the second consecutive inning and the third time in five innings.

Kurt Suzuki flew out to left field, Robbie Grossman grounded out to second and John Ryan Murphy grounded out to shortstop to end the frame.

Sanchez has retired nine consecutive Twins.

Top 5th: Tigers 1, Twins 1

James McCann grounded out to third, JaCoby Jones struck out swinging and Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out to right field as the Tigers went down in order for the second time today.

Pat Dean has done a surprisingly nice job against the Tigers today. He's got five strikeouts, giving up just three hits while walking one. He's thrown 78 pitches.

Bottom 4th: Tigers 1, Twins 1

After a shaky start, Anibal Sanchez is in control against the Minnesota lineup through four innings, setting them down in order in the fourth.

Max Kepler grounded out to first, Miguel Sano struck out swinging and Kennys Vargas popped out to end the inning.

Sanchez has four strikeouts, giving up just two hits and one walk through the first four frames. He's thrown 67 pitches.

Top 4th: Tigers 1, Twins 1

A game with two struggling pitchers seemed like a prime opportunity for a slugfest. But after both teams notched an early run, both pitchers seemed to have settled in.

Justin Upton drew a two-out walk, but the Tigers' slugger was caught by Pat Dean leaving for second base a little too early, getting picked off to end the inning.

Miguel Cabrera grounded out to shortstop and J.D. Martinez struck out swinging to leadoff the inning.

Bottom 3rd: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Anibal Sanchez issued a leadoff walk to Byron Buxton, but he was able to work around that, getting some help from James McCann to get out of the third.

Brian Dozier fouled out and Buxton was thrown out by McCann trying to steal second base. It was McCann's second runner thrown out of the game. Jorge Polanco grounded out to first to end the inning.

Top 3rd: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Andrew Romine notched a single to left center, but the Tigers were able to mount any real threat against Pat Dean in the third inning. Cameron Maybin grounded into a fielder's choice and Jose Iglesias flew out to center field to end the frame.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out looking to leadoff the inning.

Bottom 2nd: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Anibal Sanchez settled down in the second inning and set the Twins down in order.

Kennys Vargas struck out swinging and Kurt Suzuki lined out to left field to start the frame. Robbie Grossman was able to reach on a throwing error by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but Sanchez got out of the inning by getting John Ryan Murphy to strike out swinging.

Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Justin Upton grounded out to shortstop, James McCann struck out looking and JaCoby Jones struck out swinging to end a quick inning for Twins' starter Pat Dean.

Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Twins 1

Anibal Sanchez is not off to a good start in a game where the Tigers need their struggling pitcher to come up huge.

Brian Dozier took the third pitch from Sanchez and drilled a no-doubter home run to left field to tie things up, 1-1, in the first inning.

Jorge Polanco followed that up with a double to right center before getting Max Kepler to ground into a fielder's choice, where Jose Iglesias got Polanco trying to take third. As Kepler tried to make up for that mistake by stealing second base, Sanchez struck out Miguel Sano and James McCann gunned Kepler down at the bag.

Top 1st: Tigers 1, Twins 0

Cameron Maybin drilled a leadoff double off of Minnesota starter Pat Dean. Jose Iglesias followed with a hard-hit single to right field, putting runners on the corners for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera grounded into a double play, but that was enough to bring Maybin home and give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.

J.D. Martinez flew out to right field to end the inning.

Let's play two!

The Tigers and Twins resume their game from Wednesday, which was postponed due to rain, as part of a split doubleheader Thursday at Target Field.

Wednesday's game was halted in the bottom of the third with the Twins having two runners on base. Brian Dozier was hit by a pitch and Jorge Polanco reached on an infield single.

Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer struggled with his control in the 2⅔ innings he worked, walking the first two batters he faced but was able to work out of the jam.

Right-hander Anibal Sanchez (7-13, 5.90) will pitch when the game resumes. Left-hander Pat Dean (1-6, 6.71) will take over for the Twins' Jose Berrios.

In the second game, right-hander Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.22) will go for the Tigers. Right-hander Ervin Santana (7-10, 3.38)  will start the nightcap for Minnesota.

Manager Brad Ausmus announced he'll go with his youthful trio — Michael Fulmer (Friday), Daniel Norris (Saturday) and Matt Boyd (Sunday) — for the crucial weekend series against the Royals. Boyd'schange-up was particularly effective in stifling Twins hitters in Tuesday's 8-1 victory.


1. Cameron Maybin, CF

2. Jose Iglesias, SS

3. Miguel Cabrera, DH

4. J.D. Martinez, RF

5. Justin Upton, LF

6. James McCann, C

7. JaCoby Jones, 3B

8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 1B

9. Andrew Romine, 2B

Anibal Sanchez, P


1. Brian Dozier, 2B

2. Jorge Polanco, SS

3. Max Kepler, RF

4. Miguel Sano, 3B

5. Kennys Vargas, 1B

6. Kurt Suzuki, DH

7. Robbie Grossman, LF

8. J.R. Murphy, C

9. Byron Buxton, CF

Pat Dean, P


What: Resumption of postponed game, second of three-game series

When: Thursday, 2:10 p.m.(second game of split doubleheader at 8:10 p.m.)

Where: Target Field, Minneapolis

Pitching matchup: RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-13,5.90) vs. LHP Pat Dean (1-6, 6.71)

Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit

Internet streaming: MLB.TV (Blacked out in Detroit market)

Local radio: 97.1 FM

Satellite radio: SiriusXM (Internet 849)