Tigers ride seven-run frame to win over Twins
Porcello gains from third-inning uprising; Castellanos hits two-run HR
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rick Porcello said he wasn't at his best on Friday night, but thanks to the Tigers' bats, it didn't really matter.
Rajai Davis and Torii Hunter each had three hits while Nick Castellanos homered and drove in three runs as the Tigers started an eight-game road trip with a 10-6 victory at Target Field.
Porcello (3-1) earned the win despite posting his shortest start of the season. He cruised through the first five innings, allowing just one earned run, but he gave up a home run, single and a walk to the first three batters of the sixth and got the hook.
"I just couldn't find a rhythm. I was a little out of sorts there [in the sixth] and I just couldn't rebound from it," Porcello said. "I actually felt like I was battling myself the whole game. I really struggled getting ahead of guys throwing first-pitch fastballs for strikes."
Porcello had to shake off the effects of a second-inning comebacker off the bat of Josmil Pinto. The ball appeared to hit his glove and then connect with his right elbow, but after the game, Porcello said he was just a little stiff. Manager Brad Ausmus wasn't so sure.
"He said it wasn't bothering him. He said he was fine. He said he was just scuffling a little bit," Ausmus said. "He may not admit it, but I'm sure it had some affect on him."
Fortunately for Porcello and the Tigers, the offense had already done enough to put the game out of reach. In the process, they scored more than seven runs in a game for only the second time this season.
Castellanos got the Tigers on the board in the second inning with a two-run opposite-field home run off Minnesota starter Kevin Correia. Austin Jackson led off the inning by reaching second base on an error by right fielder Chris Colabello, who dropped his fly ball after a long run. Castellanos then drove a first-pitch fastball over the limestone overhang in right field for his third home run.
Minnesota got one back in the second, but the Tigers responded in a big way, knocking Correia out with a seven-run third. Hunter started the rally with a double and capped it with a two-run single off reliever Anthony Swarzak. In between, the Tigers strung together five other hits and two walks in sending 11 to the plate.
"The guys up and down the lineup drove the ball pretty well. Everyone contributed and it was nice to have a bust-out offensive inning like that," Ausmus said. "They teach that in baseball -- the most important inning is the inning after your team scores. We were able to bounce back and score, not just a few, but seven."
Throughout the game, especially during Correia's abbreviated outing, the Tigers put on a clinic in hitting to the opposite field. Their right-handed bats had five hits to right or right-center in the third inning alone, which was a function of their approach against the Twins' starter.
"Correia likes to throw that cutter away and we just wanted to stay on that ball today," Hunter said. "For most of the righties, it's keep the shoulder in there and stay on the ball because he's one of those pitchers, he'll come in occasionally just to show you, and then [throw] cutters away."
The Tigers hadn't had much success previously against Correia, who had a 2.36 ERA four career starts against Detroit at Target Field. After the beating they handed him on Friday, the right-hander said he knows it's time to go back to the drawing board.
"The majority of the balls they hit went the other way so that'll be an adjustment I'll have to make," Correia said. "We face these guys a lot, and they have a new lineup. I have to figure out how to get those guys out."
Strangely enough, Miguel Cabrera was responsible for all three outs in the third inning; he grounded out after Hunter's double, then grounded into an inning-ending double play. But Cabrera got into the act in his next at-bat. After Hunter doubled to lead off the sixth, Cabrera hit a booming drive to right field. Colabello played the carom off the wall perfectly and held Cabrera to a single, but Hunter scored easily and the Tigers led, 10-1.
Brian Dozier's seventh homer of the season started a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth, and the Twins kept chipping away against the Tigers' bullpen. An Ian Kinsler error led to a run in the seventh, cutting the lead to 10-6, but Joba Chamberlain stranded two men in the eighth, and Joe Nathan gave up a harmless single in the ninth to close it out.