Dozier, Escobar lift Twins in opener vs. Tigers

Dozier, Escobar lift Twins in opener vs. Tigers

MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar homered to help the Twins overcome an early deficit in a 6-3 win over the Tigers on Friday at Target Field. The win marked Minnesota's sixth straight against Detroit.

The Tigers, who have not defeated the Twins since Aug. 12, jumped out to a three-run advantage in the top of the first off right-hander Kyle Gibson. Alex Presley delivered an RBI triple and Nicholas Castellanos followed suit with a two-run homer for his 26th long ball of the year.

Castellanos homers for 100 RBIs

"I still want to win; you try to play to win," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said about playing out the regular season in advance of the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday. "But you have other considerations, too. It worked out well. We were able to do what we wanted to do."

Escobar answered with an RBI double in the bottom of the frame, but Minnesota did its biggest damage in the second. Dozier (three-run) and Escobar (solo) recorded consecutive home runs off Detroit left-hander Matthew Boyd during the outburst. Boyd worked five innings and was charged with five runs on seven hits, with five strikeouts and three walks.

"Didn't have my best stuff today, but could've gone a lot better," Boyd said. "Really just want one pitch back, the one to Dozier. I just overthought the whole situation and should've thrown something different there."

Twins righty Jose Berrios made his first Major League relief appearance in the fifth, tuning up for a similar role in the AL Wild Card Game. Berrios faced six batters and allowed two hits, recording a strikeout. Minnesota's bullpen combined to throw 5 1/3 scoreless innings and Escobar, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, added an RBI single in the sixth.

Berrios K's Candelario

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twinning: Escobar and Dozier followed up their first-inning act of consecutive doubles with back-to-back home runs in the second off Boyd. Dozier's three-run shot served as the go-ahead knock and went an estimated 410 feet with an exit velocity of 102.9 mph, per Statcast™. Escobar's solo homer left his bat at 104 mph and went a projected 418 feet. It was the fifth time this season the Twins have clubbed consecutive homers.

Escobar now has 21 homers on the season and Dozier has 34.

"I'm very surprised," Escobar said. "I never thought at this point in the year I'd have 21 home runs, but I think it's a testament to all the work I have put in, not only in the field but in the gym. It's impressive."

Castellanos reaches century mark: Castellanos fell into an 0-2 hole in his first-inning at-bat, but shrugged off three Gibson pitches up and out of the strike zone to run the count full and force Gibson to challenge him. He turned on the ensuing changeup just above the belt and sent it down the left-field line. With that, he became the first home-grown Tiger to post a 100-RBI season for the club since Bobby Higginson in 2000.

"As a kid, you always envision yourself as a superstar, doing what all the greats in this game do," Castellanos said. "Yeah, I always believed that I could do it. The process is difficult, but baseball's a difficult game. It's mentally tough, and from the way the season started to now, it's a marathon."

Twins' Sano activated from disabled list

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Castellanos is the first Tiger to post 25 homers, 10 triples and 100 RBIs in the same season since Hall of Famer Al Kaline, who did it as a 21-year-old in 1956. Hank Greenberg also did it in '35 and '37, Rudy York in '43 and Dale Alexander in '29.

• Tigers reliever Chad Bell retired the four batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings, all on comebackers. According to Fox Sports Detroit researcher Austin Drake, Bell is the first Major League pitcher to record four consecutive 1-3 putouts since Chien-Ming Wang did so for the Yankees on Sept. 19, 2005.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Twins elected to use their challenge in the bottom of the second on a double by Ehire Adrianza which bounced off the top of the wall in left field. After a review, the call stood and Adrianza remained on second base. Dozier clubbed a go-ahead, three-run homer in the next at-bat.

Adrianza's double stands

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: Andrew Romine could play all nine positions on Saturday as the series continues with a 7:10 p.m. ET start against the Twins at Target Field. Buck Farmer (4-5, 7.33 ERA) will make his final start of the season.

Twins: Aaron Slegers (0-0, 7.36 ERA) is slated to make his third start of the season on Saturday in the 6:10 p.m. CT start against Detroit. Slegers last started for the Twins on Sept. 6 and allowed five runs on as many hits across four frames at Tampa Bay.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minnesota who covered the Twins on Friday.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

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