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Sano, Plouffe homer to back seven strong innings from Kyle Gibson, Twins beat Tigers 7-1

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Twins take three of four from the Tigers, enter the break 49-40.

Brian Dozier pretends he's a 1950s greaser, lightin up a smoke before he skips class to drag race Johnny down Main Street to prove who's top dog.
Brian Dozier pretends he's a 1950s greaser, lightin up a smoke before he skips class to drag race Johnny down Main Street to prove who's top dog.
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

This one looked like it would go the Twins' way from the outset, and nothing that happened subsequently ever changed the nature of the contest. Shane Greene was hit hard from the very first inning, and Kyle Gibson needed little support in keeping the Tigers under his thumb.

Miguel Sano launched an 0-2 hanging breaking ball into the seats into the left-center field gap to lead off the scoring, and it could have been a lot worse if Anthony Gose hadn't made an unreal diving catch on the warning track in the gap to rob Joe Mauer of a double if not a triple. But the Twins did get two off of Sano's bomb, his second of the year, and if the game had ended there it would have been enough; that's how on it Gibson looked for most of the afternoon.

Whenever Gibson needed to make a pitch, he made it. Double plays in the first and in the sixth and a handful of strikeouts (four of six on his slider) did most of the work, and even in the seventh - the one time Gibson looked like he may have been fading after issuing back-to-back walks to start the inning - he came back by inducing his third double play of the game. His sixth and final strikeout of the game came with a runner on third and two away. Of course it came on that slider, which Gibson had a great deal of confidence in this afternoon. Marc Krauss looked absolutely lost on that slider.

By that point the game felt well in hand. One out triples from Eddie Rosario and Danny Santana sandwiched back-to-back singles from Aaron Hicks and Eric Fryer in the fourth, leading to a four-run inning capped off by Brian Dozier's sac fly. Trevor Plouffe hit a line drive home run into the bullpen in the fifth to push Minnesota's lead to 7-1. That was the hit that finally and belatedly chased Greene from the game.

The Twins wouldn't score again, but it wasn't necessary. Trevor May pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to close it out, the Twins move to 49-40. That's one hell of a way to hit the All-Star break, folks: taking three of four from the Tigers and going 8-3 in their last 11 games.

Game Notes

  • For real, if you haven't seen Gose's catch in the first inning: watch it.
  • Detroit scored their one run in the second when Fryer threw the ball away trying to get J.D. Martinez at second base. It allowed Martinez to take third, and he scored on an ensuing ground out.
  • Gibson's seven innings without an earned run has lowered his ERA to 2.85.
  • Eddie Rosario is really seeing the ball well right now. He tattooed the ball a couple of times today.
  • Aaron Hicks was thrown out trying to take second on a blown hit-and-run. Fryer couldn't make contact on a breaking ball that was far too inside, but he did what he could to try to protect Hicks - it just wasn't going to happen. Hicks had a nice day otherwise, including that RBI single in the fourth.
  • Trevor May attempted to field a come-backer that took off his glove. He recovered in time to pick up the ball and throw out the runner at first.

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Kyle Gibson
Trevor May
Miguel Sano
Trevor Plouffe
Eddie Rosario
Aaron Hicks
Danny Santana