MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Cameron Maybin drove in three runs, including a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning, to spark the Detroit Tigers over the Minnesota Twins 8-3 on Tuesday night.
Anibal Sanchez (7-12) pitched seven innings to win a start on the road for the first time since the first week of the season, and the Tigers broke the game open in the seventh with soaring home runs by Erick Aybar and Victor Martinez.
Brian Dozier gave Minnesota the lead in the fifth with his 29th homer, a new career high, but Kyle Gibson (5-8) couldn’t hold it. He threw two of the team’s three wild pitches in the decisive sixth, when rain started to fall hard and the Tigers tallied three runs on three singles and a walk.
Detroit entered the day in fourth in the AL wild-card race, three games out of the second spot. The Tigers won for the second straight time following a 3-10 stretch that severely damaged their postseason bid.
Martinez and Miguel Cabrera each went 3 for 5 and J.D. Martinez had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest active string in the league.
Moved to the bullpen in June, Sanchez is only 2-4 in nine turns through the rotation since his return. The veteran right-hander has had such an abysmal run on the road this year, though, that this was a critical performance to lift the lid on a series against the worst team in the league.
Right after the Tigers took command in the sixth, Sanchez needed only seven pitches for three outs in the bottom of the inning.
Barely half (51) of Gibson’s 98 pitches were strikes. He walked four in five-plus innings. Gibson was one strike away from escaping the second inning unscathed, after Justin Upton’s double put runners at second and third with one out, but Maybin forced in the game’s first run with a walk.
Maybin, hitting ninth as a precaution for his sprained left thumb that had him on the disabled list until Sunday, walked again to lead off the fifth. He ran to second and third on a stolen base and a throwing error by catcher Juan Centeno, then jogged home to tie the game on a single by Aybar.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann is on track for the first of three rehab starts this weekend, slated for a mid-September return from the tightness in his lat muscle.
Twins: Miguel Sano was the DH again for the Twins, due to elbow pain, but manager Paul Molitor said he could return to 3B as soon as Wednesday.
The Tigers will send LHP Matt Boyd (4-2, 3.93 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday night for his 13th start of the season. LHP Tyler Duffey (8-9, 5.93 ERA) will take his 22nd turn for the Twins.