Twins sweep Tigers, inch closer to WC berth

Twins sweep Tigers, inch closer to WC berth

DETROIT -- The Twins took care of business yet again versus the Tigers, reaching double digits in scoring for the third time in four games with a 10-4 rout to complete a critical four-game sweep on Sunday at Comerica Park. Minnesota outscored the Tigers, 39-12, en route to its first four-game sweep in Detroit since Sept. 10-13, 2004.

With the victory, the Twins maintained their 4 1/2-game lead over the Angels, who won Sunday night, while pushing the Royals and Rangers 5 1/2 back. Minnesota has six games remaining, and the magic number to clinch its first postseason berth since 2010 is three. The loss was Detroit's seventh in a row.

"It was a really nice response from the guys coming in here," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think everyone has their expectations to play well and win our share. But we ended up winning four, which was huge with the timing with where we're at."

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Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer struggled, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks over five innings. Reliever Chad Bell also gave up four runs, while recording two outs, as Minnesota put the game away with a five-run sixth.

Twins score five in the 6th

Eduardo Escobar led the charge offensively for the Twins with a three-run homer, giving him 20 homers and 69 RBIs on the year. Jorge Polanco homered in the first and doubled in the fifth, while Joe Mauer also had a two-run single as part of the outburst in the sixth.

The offense backed right-hander Jose Berrios, who lasted five frames, surrendering two runs on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Both runs came in the fifth, with Berrios throwing two wild pitches -- including one that allowed a run to score -- and Alex Presley bringing home a run with a single.

Berrios' strong outing

"He was commanding his fastball a lot better," said Ian Kinsler, whose two-run homer in the ninth inning provided the final margin. "He didn't throw it at a high velocity like he normally does. He tapered back a little bit and really commanded his fastball well. We all know he's got a good slider and a good curve, so when he's commanding his fastball, it makes it more difficult."

Polanco gets it started: Polanco set the tone with a solo shot off Farmer with two outs in the first. Polanco was down in the count, 0-2, but Farmer left a fastball over the plate and Polanco didn't miss it, smacking it over the right-field fence. It left his bat at 98.1 mph and went a projected 365 feet, per Statcast™. He actually hit his double in the fifth harder and farther, leaving the bat at 98.8 mph and traveling a projected 374 feet into the right-center-field gap.

Polanco's solo homer

Twins strike back: The Tigers made things interesting with two runs off Berrios in the fifth to make it a three-run game. But the Twins scored five runs in the sixth to put the game away. Mauer laced a two-run single and scored on Escobar's three-run homer to right. Escobar's homer had an exit velocity of 104.3 mph and went a projected 416 feet, per Statcast™.

"What can you say about Esco, going from a part-time player to 20 home runs and [nearing] 70-plus RBIs," Molitor said. "He continues to get big hits."

"We talked about it in our postgame thing we do about how we responded, which isn't a new thing. We came in here and accomplished our goal of winning all four games and going to Cleveland. We know where we're at. Trust me. We have a gauge of what's going on around us." -- Twins second baseman Brian Dozier on the four-game sweep after getting swept by the Yankees

"Thank you, really. We're going to need your support now more than ever, especially going toward the future and rebuilding with the new guys that we have. We want the fans and the energy to be a part of that, to always know that we have the city behind us." -- Nicholas Castellanos' message to fans after the Tigers' home finale

The Twins became the 13th team -- and the first since the 2009 Mariners -- to go from losing 100 games to posting a winning record the next season.

Twins: The Twins have an off-day on Monday before starting a three-game series against the Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Bartolo Colon (6-14, 6.63 ERA) starts the series opener against his former club, but has a 9.17 ERA in four September starts.

Tigers: After an off-day on Monday, the Tigers open their season-ending six-game road trip with an 8:15 p.m. ET game against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday. Anibal Sanchez (3-5, 6.68 ERA) takes the mound for what could be his penultimate start as a Tiger, trying to build on back-to-back six-inning, one-run outings.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

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