Boyd's gem, McCann's homer propel Tigers

April 11th, 2017

DETROIT -- tossed six innings of one-hit ball supported by 's two-run homer, sending the Tigers to their fourth win in five games this homestand with a 2-1 win over the Twins on Tuesday afternoon to begin their three-game series at Comerica Park.

The win moved Detroit into a tie with Minnesota atop the American League Central at 5-2.

Boyd held the Twins hitless until Robbie Grossman singled with two outs in the sixth. However, Minnesota worked Boyd's pitch count along the way, leaving Detroit's bullpen with three innings to cover once Boyd left after throwing 97 pitches. All six of Boyd's strikeouts came on offspeed pitches, including a nasty changeup he used for eight swings and misses, according to Statcast™.

"Honestly, I really wasn't aware of it," Boyd said of his no-hit flirtation. "I don't really think about the hits at all. You're just in attack mode out there."

Twins starter kept pace in a scoreless duel until he left a fifth-inning sinker up just enough for McCann to pounce on, scoring after his leadoff hit-by-pitch. Minnesota rallied with three hits in the ninth off closer , but Max Kepler's pinch-hit popout to third base ended the ninth-inning rally and sealed Rodriguez's third save of the season.

"It was tough, both sides," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Well-pitched game."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

McCann mashes: McCann is the first catcher in Tigers history to hit three homers in the first seven games of a season, according to Baseball-Reference. Two of those have been on the first pitch of an at-bat, showing his aggressive approach. He pounced on Santiago's elevated sinker and sent it off the top of the bullpen dugout beyond the left-field fence.

"Overall, I think just missing in the middle of the plate was the problem on that first pitch," Santiago said. "He was aggressive. I think they all were today. I just wound up leaving one up in the middle of the plate."

Ryan escapes with double play: The Tigers can't seem to win a game without a test for their bullpen. This time, it came in the seventh after singled and Chris Gimenez walked against . Manager Brad Ausmus turned to for the lefty-lefty matchup against , who hit a ground ball to shortstop that swiftly turned to start an inning-ending double play.

QUOTABLE

"He was going to be done. I'm sure everyone would have second-guessed it, but he was going to be done. It wasn't going to happen unless somehow the Twins started swinging at first pitches and popping them up."

-- Ausmus, on whether he would've taken out Boyd after the sixth inning with a no-hit bid going

"I feel for him, because I know he's very prideful and he's trying to figure out a way to help us, not just with his glove, but with his offense. Each day he comes in there, he tries to find the right attitude to take into a new day and a new game. We had a little talk this morning. There's no miracle cure or miracle words. He's going to just have to try to fight his way through it the best he can."

-- Molitor on , who struck out looking three times Tuesday, running his season strikeout total to 17

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

McCann hit three "barrels" in the game, lining out hard to right field and flying out to center in addition to his homer. He's the fifth Tiger to hit three barrels in a game in the Statcast™ Era, joining , , J.D. Martinez and .

WHAT'S NEXT

Twins: makes his second start of the season looking to improve on his first outing, in which he allowed three runs in five innings in a no-decision against Kansas City. Gibson allowed just one run in eight innings the last time he faced Detroit, on Sept. 13 last season.

Tigers: takes the mound for the second time this homestand for Game 2 of this series. Fulmer tossed six scoreless innings in the Tigers' home opener last Friday, but he took a no-decision after the Red Sox rallied off Detroit's bullpen.

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