Detroit — The Tigers have had to patch together a starting rotation from a batch of rookies and relievers and for the most part it’s held together well. Certainly better than you’d expect with five starters on the injured list.
It might have caught up to them a bit Tuesday.
The Twins jumped on spot starter Rony Garcia, scoring six runs in the first three innings on their way to an 8-2 win in the first of two games at Comerica Park.
The big blow was a three-run home run by Twins’ catcher Gary Sanchez. He blistered a hanging curve ball from Garcia and sent it off the Little Caesar’s bullpen roof in left center.
That was the only curveball the Twins put in play against Garcia. They swung at 12 of them total and missed nine. The one bad one he threw spoiled his day.
Garcia didn’t allow another base runner after Sanchez’s dinger, retiring the last eight hitters he faced and grinding through five innings. He posted a career-high seven strikeouts.
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Max Kepler had three hits and knocked in three for the Twins, continuing his season-long assault on Tigers’ pitching.
The Tigers gifted them a couple of unearned runs in the seventh. Reliever Drew Carlton, who allowed just one hit with four strikeouts in three innings, was victimized by back-to-back errors by shortstop Javier Báez and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
After a wild pitch, Kepler scored them both with a line-drive single.
After scoring six runs and banging out 13 hits Monday, the Tigers couldn’t get anything started against Twins’ lefty Devin Smeltzer. In his three previous big-league starts, all in May, Smeltzer allowed just two earned runs in 17.1 innings.
The Tigers doubled his yield.
In the fourth, Miguel Cabrera singled (career hit No. 3,030) and Báezdoubled off the wall in right field. Cabrera scored on a ground out by Jeimer Candelario.
Smeltzer was removed with two outs in the seventh after Daz Cameron lined an RBI double into the gap in left-center.
Spencer Torkelson produced his second straight three-hit game.