Homers continue to haunt Boyd in G1 loss

Detroit Tigers

The Twins stationed a cardboard cutout of their former manager, Ron Gardenhire, in the front row right behind home plate for his return to Target Field on Friday. The Tigers manager had said when he found out about the cutout in July that he had better be in a good

The Twins stationed a cardboard cutout of their former manager, Ron Gardenhire, in the front row right behind home plate for his return to Target Field on Friday. The Tigers manager had said when he found out about the cutout in July that he had better be in a good seat, but he changed his mind when he saw it on Friday.

“I wish they had put me in the outfield,” he said. “That would’ve been better. Because you get to watch home runs fly.”

Box score

He could not have liked the view of the home runs from any angle Friday afternoon — back-to-back leadoff blasts off Matthew Boyd to open the doubleheader. They ended up being the only runs of the game in a 2-0 Detroit defeat in Game 1.

It marked the third time this season that Boyd has started a game with back-to-back homers. He recovered nicely, shutting down Minnesota the rest of the way with eight strikeouts over six innings, but Randy Dobnak’s five scoreless innings left him no margin for error.

For three batters, the more fitting cardboard cutout for Boyd’s start was on the other side of the home-plate seats, where Peanuts character and noted long-ball pitcher Charlie Brown was watching. Boyd had Jorge Polanco in a 2-2 count, then Josh Donaldson in an 0-2 hole, but couldn’t finish either of them off. Both counts went full before a high changeup to Polanco and a fastball to Donaldson ended up over the fence. Donaldson’s homer, his second as a Twin, cleared the batter’s eye in center field, an estimated 441-foot drive.

With the back-to-back homers, the Twins did to Boyd what the White Sox did against him in consecutive starts in August. Nelson Cruz’s ensuing single had Boyd seemingly poised for disaster Friday, but back-to-back strikeouts of Miguel Sano and Marwin Gonzalez — both chasing darting sliders — allowed Boyd to settle down from there.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck’s Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason.

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