Tigers take charge early against reeling Twins

Tigers take charge early against reeling Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Miguel Cabrera set the tone with a solo homer in the first inning, and the Tigers capitalized with a five-run third, capped by a three-run blast from Justin Upton, in a 9-4 win over the Twins on Wednesday at Target Field.

It gave Detroit a second straight win over Minnesota, and the Tigers remain three games back of the Orioles for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Cabrera went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs to pace the offense, and he helped spark the five-run rally with an RBI double off the right-field wall in the third. J.D. Martinez also singled home a run before Upton crushed a three-run shot off Twins starter Tyler Duffey. The Tigers blew it open with a three-run eighth, keyed by a two-run single from Andrew Romine with two outs.

"I think overall, all aspects of the game came together pretty well," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "Pitching -- [Matt] Boyd had a little trouble throwing strikes, but we were able to get six innings out of him, and the bullpen did its job. Offensively, I thought we did a nice job. We hit some balls hard -- even some balls that were outs were hit hard."

The early support was enough for Tigers lefty Matt Boyd, who went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Trevor Plouffe got the Twins on the board with an RBI single in the first, while Boyd gave up solo homers to Robbie Grossman in the third and Brian Dozier in the fifth. Boyd outlasted Duffey, who went three innings, surrendering six runs on seven hits. It handed the Twins their sixth straight loss.

"It's one of those things where it's a veteran lineup and a lot of guys with pop," Duffey said. "I let Upton sit on a fastball in, and he hit it off the board out there. That was pretty much it. It's frustrating, obviously. It caused the bullpen to get a lot of innings, and it hurts us tomorrow and the days after that."

Boyd's quality start

Gimme five: The Tigers have scored runs in bunches this series, and that trend continued with a five-run third inning that pushed Detroit to an early 6-1 lead. After Cameron Maybin singled with one out, the Twins couldn't turn the inning-ending double play on Erick Aybar's sharp grounder after Plouffe's throw to second went wide. The floodgates opened after that, with Cabrera hitting an RBI double, J.D. Martinez adding an RBI single and Upton capping the rally with a three-run homer to left.

"There are a lot of good hitters in this lineup, and they can do a lot of special things," Upton said. "When you see those guys doing that, it's fun to watch."

Dozier gets No. 30: Dozier continued his recent tear, connecting on a solo shot off Boyd in the fifth, giving homers in back-to-back games. It was the 30th homer of the year for Dozier, which is two more than his career high, set last season. It was also Dozier's Major League-leading 22nd homer dating back to June 25. Dozier became the first Twins player to reach 30 homers since Josh Willingham clubbed 35 in 2012.

"We've talked about it a lot because it just seems to continue," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's getting pitches and he's not missing. I don't know if a lot of people projected him to be a 30-home run guy at any point in his development. But it's been incredible to watch him put together this season, especially after a slow start."

Miggy knocks four hits: Cabrera started with a bang by giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead with a Statcast-estimated 423-foot homer to center field in the first inning. That was a sign of things to come, as he would tack on two doubles and a single for the 44th four-hit game of his career. He fell a triple short of his first career cycle for a remarkable 32nd time, which places him seventh among players who have been only a three-bagger away. Cabrera has only hit 17 triples in his 14 Major League seasons, but amusingly enough, his only triple of the 2016 season came against the Twins.

"I've been watching [that] for a long time," said Upton of Cabrera's four-hit game. "It's no surprise -- like I said, it's fun to watch." More >

Miggy's four-hit game

Rosario creates highlight reel: Twins center fielder Eddie Rosario made a few nice plays, including a running over-the-shoulder catch in deep left-center to rob Casey McGehee of extra bases to end the third. He also ran in to catch a soft blooper from Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fourth, and made another impressive catch to take a hit from J.D. Martinez in the fifth.

"I feel good," said Rosario, who has been the club's everyday center fielder since late July. "I feel confident in center field. If the team needs me in center, that's where I'll play. I'm trying to do a good job in center." More >

E. Rosario's great running catch

With the Tigers leading, 6-1, Cabrera led off the top of the fifth inning with a line drive down the left-field line that was initially ruled a foul ball by third-base umpire Chris Segal. After a review of two minutes and 47 seconds, the call was overturned, and Cabrera was awarded a single. It was his third hit of the game, following a solo homer in the first inning and a double in the third.

Tigers challenge foul ball

Tigers: Left-hander Daniel Norris (1-2, 3.81 ERA) has given the Tigers three solid starts since he rejoined the rotation on Aug. 9 and will get the start in Thursday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. ET. He allowed three runs in five innings to the Red Sox on Saturday, striking out four while walking two as Detroit lost, 3-2.

Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (2-3, 9.28 ERA) is set to start the series finale on Thursday at 12:10 p.m. CT. Berrios, a highly regarded rookie, has struggled so far in the Majors and is coming off another rough start. He went four innings, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks, against the Royals on Friday.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the Tigers on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.