Twins rout Tigers, increase Wild Card lead 22 Sep 17

DETROIT — The Twins boosted their chance at making the postseason for the first time since 2010 with a 12-1 win over the Tigers, powered by a three-hit game from Joe Mauer and a two-run single from Byron Buxton to snap a three-game losing streak on Thursday night at Comerica Park.

With the Angels losing to the Indians earlier in the day, the Twins have a 2 1/2-game lead for the second AL Wild Card spot with nine games remaining, including six against the Tigers.

“It was a good bounceback win,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We got a lot of contributions. Joe set the tone for us with an early knock and a leadoff single in the fourth that led to a couple runs. And Byron picked us up.”

Veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann made his first start since Sept. 2 for the Tigers, but struggled in his return. Zimmermann, who has been dealing with neck issues, lasted four innings, allowing three runs on five hits. All three runs came in the fourth, keyed by an RBI double from Eduardo Escobar and Buxton’s two-run single.

“I thought he was starting to get tired a little bit,” manager Brad Ausmus said of Zimmermann. “I thought it was a good first step back.”

Rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia, in his second outing since missing a month with a left biceps strain, was mostly solid, but was lifted after 4 2/3 innings after throwing 79 pitches. He gave up one run on four hits with five strikeouts. The lone run came on a double from Jeimer Candelario.

Minnesota continued to tack on runs against Detroit’s bullpen with Eddie Rosario singling home a run in the fifth, Mauer providing a two-run double and scoring on a single from Jorge Polanco in the sixth and Robbie Grossman adding a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Max Kepler and Jason Castro also each had two-run doubles in the eighth.

“I’m real proud of the guys getting right after it,” Mauer said. “We put New York behind us. We grinded it out, and that’s been a strength of ours all year, just turning the page to the next game at hand. Guys had a lot of good at-bats, and it was great to see.”