MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – James McCann had a three-run homer among his four hits, Daniel Norris pitched into the seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers completed a sweep at Minnesota with an 8-5 victory on Thursday for the Twins’ seventh straight defeat.
The Tigers, trying to stay close in the wild-card race, are 10-2 against the Twins this year. They stretched their winning streak at Target Field to eight games.
Norris (2-2) struck out five in 6 1/3 innings, allowing six hits without a walk in his longest and strongest start this season. He took a shutout in the sixth, surrendering RBI singles by Robbie Grossman and Eduardo Escobar over his last two innings.
Jose Berrios (2-4) finished five innings, but he gave up six runs on six hits and five walks in his ninth major league start. His ERA actually dropped four percentage points, to an unsightly 9.24.
Catcher Juan Centeno made a mound visit three batters into the game after Berrios issued back-to-back walks, and Ian Kinsler’s two-run double in the second sent the Tigers on their way.
McCann’s two-out, three-run drive into the flower bed above right-center field pushed the lead to 6-0 in the third inning.
Victor Martinez went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for the Tigers, raising his career batting average at Target Field to .370 in 46 games. He’s 16 for 26 there this year and has scored seven runs in six games.
Max Kepler’s two-run double punctuated a three-run eighth for the Twins.
Francisco Rodriguez preserved the victory by striking out two in a perfect ninth for his 35th save in 38 opportunities.
The Twins finished 2-8 at home in August, allowing an average of 7.9 runs per game.
J.D. Martinez’s 14-game hitting streak, the longest active run in the league and tied for the longest of his career, ended with a 0-for-5 afternoon. In 21 games since coming off the disabled list, Martinez is still batting .410 with six home runs.
Twins 1B Joe Mauer was out for the second straight game because of soreness in both quadriceps muscles more significant than originally believed, but manager Paul Molitor said he’s planning on Mauer being back in the lineup on Friday.
Though several young players could use the developmental time, Molitor was hesitant to commit to resting Mauer more down the stretch, particularly with contenders like Cleveland, Detroit and Seattle due to visit Minnesota in September.
“I’m going to try to run out the best team I can,” Molitor said.
Tigers: With Jose Iglesias expected back on Friday from a DL stint for a strained left hamstring, manager Brad Ausmus said he’ll still play Erick Aybar at SS at times. Casey McGehee will continue to be the regular 3B with Nick Castellanos out.
Twins: Miguel Sano was the DH again, with a sore elbow that has kept him from playing 3B for a week. Molitor said he doesn’t believe Sano is confident enough yet to make the long corner throws.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (13-7, 3.38 ERA), who ranks second in the league in strikeouts and innings, will take the mound on Friday at home against the Angels. RHP Ricky Nolasco (4-11, 5.22 ERA) will start for Los Angeles.
Twins: LHP Pat Dean, subbing for an injured Hector Santiago, will pitch on Friday at Toronto. Dean (1-3, 5.48 ERA) last started for the Twins on June 17. He’ll face former Twins LHP Francisco Liriano (6-12, 5.21 ERA), who was recently acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh. This will be Liriano’s fourth start for the Blue Jays.