DETROIT (AP) — Torii Hunter homered and Joe Mauer hit a bases-loaded triple, leading the Minnesota Twins past the Detroit Tigers 6-2 on Wednesday night.
Ricky Nolasco (3-1) allowed two unearned runs in 5 1/3 innings for the win. Nolasco came in with a 9.00 ERA, but gave up only four hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Kyle Lobstein (3-3) allowed six runs and seven hits and a walk while only recording seven outs.
The Tigers lost outfielder J.D. Martinez to a back injury. He singled in his first two at-bats, but Rajai Davis hit for him in the sixth. The team announced he had lower back tightness and is day-to-day.
Hunter got things started for the Twins in the first, homering against his former teammates. Minnesota blew it open in the third, highlighted by Mauer’s three-run triple.
Aaron Hicks and Danny Santana started the inning with singles, and after a popout, Hunter walked to load the bases. Mauer drove a pitch into the right-center field gap to clear the bases. He scored on Trevor Plouffe’s triple to the same spot.
Kurt Suzuki doubled to make it 6-0 and end Lobstein’s night.
The Twins nearly added two more off Alex Wilson in the fourth, but Yoenis Cespedes pulled Brian Dozier’s towering fly back from beyond the left-field fence.
Nolasco got into his first jam in the sixth, when Detroit loaded the bases with one out on a single, a walk and an error. That brought Aaron Thompson out of the Twins’ bullpen, and he retired Cespedes on a sacrifice fly to make it 6-1.
Nick Castellanos followed with an RBI single, but Thompson retired James McCann to end the inning. The Tigers loaded the bases with one out again in the seventh, but Michael Tonkin struck out Victor Martinez and got Davis on a grounder back to the mound.
Martinez, who struck out only 42 times while hitting a career-high 32 homers last season, struck out three times and is now hitting .152 against right-handed pitching.
Twins: Nolasco, who had struck out just five batters in his two starts since returning from the disabled list with elbow inflammation, had five strikeouts over the fourth and fifth innings. He struck out the top four batters in the Tigers’ order, including Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, gave up an infield single, then struck out Cespedes.
Tigers: The team announced before the game that after several examinations, C Alex Avila is going to try to rehab his knee injury rather than undergo season-ending surgery. Avila went on the disabled list Saturday, and the team has not given a timetable on his return.
The teams finish the three-game series with Mike Pelfrey (3-0, 2.62) facing Anibal Sanchez (2-4, 5.44). The Twins are 5-1 in Pelfrey’s six starts, including a 3-2 win over Sanchez on April 28 at Target Field.