MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — While Minnesota’s pitchers were struggling with the strike zone, the Twins’ hitters were teeing off.
Eddie Rosario hit a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning for Minnesota’s third homer of the day, helping the Twins top the Detroit Tigers 5-4 on Sunday.
Max Kepler and Jake Cave also connected as Minnesota won for the fifth time in six games. The Twins bashed 13 homers while taking three of four from the Tigers.
“It’s one of those things, hitting’s contagious,” said Cave, who reached the second deck in center with his solo drive in the fourth.
“Guys are hitting home runs, Kepler hits a home run in the same inning that I did. So when you got a guy who hits a home run in front of you, gives you a little cushion, then you get to a 3-2 count, it kind of helps you to be able to put your best swing on the ball.”
Unlike Cave and Kepler, Rosario didn’t have a full count, but the result was the same. Behind 0-2 after two swings-and-misses leading off the eighth, Rosario launched the third fastball he saw from Alex Wilson (1-4) into the right field seats for his 22nd homer.
“The ball flies here. You make mistakes up, that’s what these guys do. They’ve got some swingers,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Minnesota has 15 homers on its homestand. But the Twins walked 22 batters during the four-game series against the Tigers, and it nearly cost them Sunday.
Minnesota led 4-1 after the homers by Kepler and Cave. The Twins appeared to be cruising before Jake Odorizzi walked consecutive batters in the sixth, loading the bases with no outs.
“It was the same command issues that were kind of haunting me all day,” Odorizzi said. “I was behind a lot of counts, even in the middle innings when I was going good. I just need to execute a little bit better.”
Matt Magill then came in and walked Niko Goodrum on four pitches, forcing in a run. After Victor Martinez bounced into a run-scoring double play, Jim Adduci hit a tying RBI single.
Trevor Hildenberger (3-3) relieved Taylor Rogers in the eighth and got James McCann on a grounder with two on to end the inning. He worked a scoreless ninth despite pinch-hitter Victor Reyes’ leadoff single and a walk to Jose Iglesias.
WHEN THEY GO HIGH .
Wilson’s last two pitches to Rosario were high. The first drew a bad swing and a miss from Rosario. The second? Not so much.
“I don’t know if he was guessing neck-high fastball again, but he guessed right,” Twins manager Paul Molitor quipped.
Tigers reliever Buck Farmer allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings in his first start this season. He got the nod after the Tigers realized Jacob Turner didn’t meet a 10-day wait requirement after being designated for assignment this month. On Saturday night, the Tigers said Turner would be called up from Triple-A to start.
Zac Reininger gave up the homers to Kepler and Cave before Daniel Stumpf threw two hitless innings.
“Our pitchers did what we hoped. They gave us an opportunity,” Gardenhire said.
Tigers: Iglesias returned to the lineup after a few days off to rest a bruised right thumb. Iglesias hurt the thumb on Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox and started Wednesday before being shut down, although he made one appearance off the bench.
Twins: Molitor said RHP Ervin Santana would see a hand specialist on Tuesday about the recurring finger discomfort that sidelined him for much of the season. Santana, who went on the 10-day DL on Sunday, had surgery on his right middle finger in February.
Tigers: Open a two-game interleague series against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Jordan Zimmermann (5-5) takes the mound for Detroit for his 18th start of the season.
Twins: Top prospect Stephen Gonsalves will make his major league debut on Monday against the Chicago White Sox. The left-hander, a fourth-round draft pick by the Twins in 2013, went 9-3 for Triple-A Rochester this year with a 2.96 ERA.