MINNEAPOLIS -- Victor Martinez recorded his first multihomer game of the season to back right-hander Anibal Sanchez and lead the Tigers to a 6-3 win against the Twins on Friday night at Target Field.Twins All-Star right-hander Ervin Santana struggled, lasting a season-low 3 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on
MINNEAPOLIS -- Victor Martinez recorded his first multihomer game of the season to back right-hander Anibal Sanchez and lead the Tigers to a 6-3 win against the Twins on Friday night at Target Field.
Twins All-Star right-hander Ervin Santana struggled, lasting a season-low 3 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks. He gave up a solo blast to Martinez in the second, an RBI double off the wall to Justin Upton in the third and a two-run shot to Martinez in the fourth. He also threw a run-scoring wild pitch.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," Santana said. "I just kept falling behind in the count. They're normally very aggressive against me, but today they were very patient."
Sanchez cruised early, throwing three scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fourth. Miguel Sano opened the scoring for Minnesota with an RBI single before Ehire Adrianza delivered a two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded. But that was all the Twins could muster against Sanchez, who went 5 2/3 innings to get the win.
"[His confidence] has grown quite a bit," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think it's growing with every solid outing that he has. His last outing wasn't his best, but since he's been back, he has given us a chance to win."
Detroit added an insurance run in the ninth against reliever Craig Breslow on a sacrifice fly from Alex Avila after singles from Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler. Tigers closer Justin Wilson threw a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
V-Mart doubles up: Martinez's first homer in the second came on a 3-2 fastball and was crushed; it was his hardest-hit homer of the year, leaving the bat at 104.2 mph and traveling a projected 408 feet, per Statcast™. After a leadoff double from Nicholas Castellanos in the fourth, Martinez again homered on a 3-2 pitch, yanking a changeup a projected 411 feet to right, leaving the bat at 98.1 mph. It was the 11th multihomer game of his career.
"It's great. Obviously he comes to work every day and puts together good at-bats," Tigers center fielder Michael Mahtook said. "He's had some bad luck lately, but he got those two balls pretty good. I don't think they're going to stay in any park in the league."
Sanchez gets Sano: After a two-out double from Joe Mauer in the fifth, Sano came to the plate as the potential tying run, and had hit Sanchez hard to that point, going 2-for-2 with an RBI single that left the bat at 109.8 mph in the fourth. But Sanchez wriggled his way out of the jam, striking out Sano on a splitter in the dirt.
"We tried to get back in the game there against Sanchez," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It seemed like he confused our guys and we didn't adjust to the off-speed repertoire."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Martinez's homers were the 234th and 235th of his career, passing Molitor on MLB's all-time list.
CABRERA'S EARLY EXIT
Tigers first baseman Jose Cabrera left the game in the fifth inning with a right clavicle contusion. X-rays came back negative and he is listed as day to day. Cabrera took a hard grounder off his chest in the bottom of the fourth. According to Statcast™, the groundout had an exit velocity of 103.1 mph. Andrew Romine replaced Cabrera, who went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.
"He's got a contusion," Ausmus said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. I don't expect it to be anything long-term."
The Tigers elected to use their challenge in the top of the second. Mahtook was thrown out advancing to second base on a two-out single by Alex Presley. After a review that lasted one minute and 46 seconds, the call stood and Detroit lost its challenge.
Minnesota lost its challenge in the top of the seventh. Following a two-out walk, Upton stole second to move into scoring position. The Twins thought James Dozier had kept the tag placed on Upton as he came off the bag. However, the call stood after a review that lasted one minute, 58 seconds.
Tigers: Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (6-7, 5.58 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Tigers on Saturday. Game time is 7:10 p.m. ET. In his last start, Zimmermann snapped his 2017 road winless streak with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Royals. Zimmermann is 3-1 with a 4.56 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (5-8, 6.29 ERA) is set to start for the Twins against the Tigers on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. CT. Gibson gave up four runs over six innings in a loss to the Astros on Sunday.
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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and listen to his podcast.
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis.