DETROIT (AP) — Miguel Cabrera’s homer broke a seventh-inning tie, and the Detroit Tigers rallied for a crucial 9-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
The Tigers trailed 5-2 in the fourth inning, but came from behind to pull one game behind Toronto for the second AL wild card.
Ian Kinsler had four hits, finishing a homer short of the cycle, and drove in three runs while scoring two. Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki homered for the Twins.
Both starting pitchers made early exits. Minnesota’s Tyler Duffey allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings, while Anibal Sanchez gave up six in four-plus.
Shane Greene (5-4) got the win, while Ryan Pressly (6-7) took the loss after surrendering Cabrera’s homer.
Bruce Rondon pitched the eighth for Detroit, while Francisco Rodriguez put up a perfect ninth for his 42nd save.
After Sanchez struck out the side in the first, Kinsler and Cameron Maybin gave the Tigers the lead with back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the inning. Kinsler’s RBI single in the second doubled the lead.
Sanchez retired the first nine batters in order, but Dozier launched his first pitch of the fourth into the left-field stands for his 41st homer. The next three batters singled, with Kennys Vargas driving home Jorge Polanco to tie the game.
Suzuki then made it 5-2 with a homer down the left-field line, but the Tigers came back in the bottom of the inning. Andrew Romine had an RBI single before Kinsler and Maybin hit back-to-back triples to tie the game.
J.T. Chargois replaced Duffey and allowed a tiebreaking single to Cabrera, but Sanchez couldn’t hold the lead. He walked Byron Buxton to start the fifth and Dozier followed with a double to make it 6-6.
Alex Wilson got out of the inning without further damage, and the two bullpens were able to settle the game down until Cabrera’s homer off Pressly with one out in the seventh.
The Tigers added two more runs in the eighth on Kinsler’s second RBI single and a wild pitch.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano missed his second straight game with back stiffness. He’s expected back for Minnesota’s weekend series against the Mets. . Suzuki left the game in the eighth injury with a lacerated chin after being hit in the mask by a foul tip.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann threw an 80-pitch simulated game Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to fix his mechanics and get back into the rotation. Due to assorted injuries, Zimmermann has only started twice since June and didn’t escape the second inning either time. … 3B Nick Castellanos (broken hand) batted once against Zimmermann before taking himself out of the lineup. He hopes to be back before the end of the regular season.
ODD DEFENSIVE LINEUP
Zimmermann, who mostly faced September call-ups in his simulated game, didn’t get a lot of help from his defense. Instead of one of baseball’s best double-play combinations in Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias, Zimmermann had his fellow pitchers backing him up. Rookie of the Year favorite Michael Fulmer made a nice running catch on a pop up into shallow right, but Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Justin Verlander weren’t impressive as infielders.
OLYMPIC WEEK CONTINUES
For the third straight day, an Olympic medalist from Rio threw out the first pitch. On Wednesday, it was New Zealand’s Nick Willis, who won the bronze medal in the 1,500-meter run. Willis spent his college career at the University of Michigan, and still lives in Ann Arbor.
The teams conclude their four-game series with the Tigers’ Mike Pelfrey (4-9, 4.76) facing the Twins’ Hector Santiago (11-8, 4.75). Pelfrey hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since July 30 due to a back injury, and is expected to be on a 60-pitch limit.