MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With Miguel Cabrera on the bench and Max Scherzer struggling, the Detroit Tigers still found a way to win big.
Victor Martinez homered and had four RBIs, to lead Detroit to a 13-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.
Rajai Davis also connected for the Tigers, who have won two straight to earn a split of this four-game series.
“We were having better at-bats, we weren’t chasing as many pitches,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “We’ve been kind of waiting for this for a while. ... It was nice to have those guys pick Miggy up.”
Detroit trials Kansas City by two games in the AL Central and is one back of Seattle for the second AL wild card.
Minnesota scored 32 runs in winning the first two games of the series and Detroit had 21 in taking the last two.
The Tigers’ 60 hits in the four games is their most in a four-game series since having 60 at Chicago from July 6-8, 1956. Minnesota set a franchise record for most hits allowed in a four-game series, surpassing the 59 yielded at Texas July 25-28, 2011.
Cabrera didn’t play after aggravating a sore right ankle Saturday. With the Tigers off Monday, Ausmus thought giving the slugger two days to rest was not a bad thing, adding he’d be “shocked” if Cabrera does not play Tuesday.
Martinez homered off Brian Duensing in the sixth for a 7-3 lead. His 25th home run of the season ties his career high set in 2007 with Cleveland.
Davis hit his two-run homer in the seventh to make it 9-3. A bases-loaded triple by Hunter made it 13-4 in the eighth.
“Just to bounce back from losing 20-whatever and 12-whatever, to bounce back shows the fight we have,” Hunter said.
Kennys Vargas had three hits for Minnesota.
“The last two ballgames, their big boys threw and there you have it, it does make a difference,” said manager Ron Gardenhire.
After Justin Verlander won Saturday night, Scherzer (15-4) lasted just five innings, allowing seven hits and three earned runs, but the Detroit bullpen allowed just one earned run on five hits the rest of the way.
“They fouled off pitches, worked counts, did anything they could to grind me out,” Scherzer said.
The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Brian Dozier flew out to short left against Al Alburquerque and Phil Coke struck out Joe Mauer.
Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson (11-10) only pitched 4 2-3 innings on a hot and humid afternoon, allowing five earned runs on eight hits. He also walked four, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. This was the third time in four stars the right-hander allowed five runs.
“It’s one of those starts where six innings, seven innings, three runs would’ve been good for the lack of fastball command I had,” Gibson said. “I think the more I pitch, that’s the consistency I’m looking for.”
The game took 4 hours, 10 minutes, the longest nine-inning game in Minnesota history, surpassing the 4:05 against Toronto on July 25, 1987.
Tigers: Starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, on the 15-day DL since Aug. 9 with a right pectoral strain, has not been ruled out to pitch during next Saturday’s doubleheader in Chicago. The right-hander is scheduled to throw Monday and, if that goes well, off a mound two days later. “Just because he gets off the mound Wednesday, he may not quite feel right,” Ausmus said. ... Reliever Joakim Soria was scheduled to throw again Sunday. He’s been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 10 with a left oblique strain. “In the last three days he’s trended upward quite a bit,” Ausmus said.
Twins: Starting pitcher Yohan Pino will be unable to throw for two to four weeks after an MRI showed a minor elbow strain. Pino was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader and was optioned back after the start. He will be placed on the Triple-A disabled list.
Tigers: Rick Porcello (14-8, 3.10) is to get the ball when the Tigers start a three-game home series with the New York Yankees on Tuesday. Brandon McCarthy (8-12, 4.01) is scheduled to pitch for New York.
Twins: Off Monday before beginning a three-game series in Kansas City. Ricky Nolasco (5-9, 5.96) is scheduled to pitch for Minnesota in Tuesday’s opener against Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.53)