DETROIT -- The Twins keep showing their resiliency, and it's helping them inch toward their first postseason berth since 2010. Minnesota overcame a late deficit, rallying for eight runs in the eighth inning to take down the Tigers in a 10-4 win on Saturday night at Comerica Park.
It was the third straight win over Detroit for the Twins, who now lead the Rangers, Royals and Angels by 4 1/2 games for the second American League Wild Card spot. The Twins have seven games remaining, and their magic number to clinch a postseason berth is down to just four.
"That's a really good win," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It just reinforces the mindset of playing the game start to finish. Can you stay in the moment and relax without putting too much pressure on yourself? You want to at least give yourself a chance by getting guys on base and putting pressure on them and that's what we did tonight."
The Tigers received a strong start from left-hander Matthew Boyd, who gave up two runs (one earned) over 6 2/3 innings in his first start since losing a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth against the White Sox. But Detroit's bullpen struggled in the eighth and couldn't hold a one-run lead.
Joe Mauer sparked the rally with a leadoff single, but it was Eddie Rosario who tied the game with an RBI single into left on a 3-2 pitch from lefty Daniel Stumpf. Eduardo Escobar provided the go-ahead run with a bloop single to right on a 3-2 pitch after attempting to bunt. Robbie Grossman added two insurance runs on a 3-2 single off Joe Jimenez before Jason Castro plated a run on an RBI groundout. Zack Granite, who replaced Mauer as a pinch-runner, put the cherry on top with a three-run blast to right for his first career homer.
"When things aren't going well, it seems to keep adding on," Tigers catcher John Holaday said.
Twins right-hander Ervin Santana was solid, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings to improve to 16-8 with a 3.36 ERA. He gave up two runs in the first after allowing four straight hits, but settled down from there until serving up a solo homer to Efren Navarro in the sixth. Navarro added a solo homer to left in the ninth for his first career multi-homer game. He came in with one career homer coming on July 26, 2014.
"I believe in our offense with the way we've been playing lately," Santana said. "We never give up. They take every at-bat and every pitch trying to do damage. That's what we did in the eighth inning. They got my back today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Little League homer: The Twins scored in a hurry, and it came on a bunt from James Dozier to lead off the game. Dozier's bunt bounced in front of third baseman Jeimer Candelario, who fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw to first sailed past first baseman Jose Cabrera, allowing Dozier to race around the bases and score on the play to give Minnesota an early lead.
"I told Doz when he scored that was the first time he led off a game with a bunt all year. It kind of caught me by surprise," Molitor said. "They threw it away and it ended up in no-man's land and he circled the bases. It was an exciting start but then we went silent for a little bit."
Grossman gets Twins close: Boyd was on an impressive roll after Dozier scored on a three-base error, but the Twins made it a one-run game in the seventh, with Ehire Adrianza doubling with one out and scoring on an RBI single from Grossman. Grossman finished with three RBIs.
"We've had good crowds despite the fact that we haven't been playing winning baseball. Quite frankly, I'd like to just win." -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Granite became the first Twins player to ever come in as a pinch-runner and homer in the same inning. He's the first Major Leaguer to do it since Darren Lewis in 2001 with the Red Sox.
"It's kinda cool," Granite said. "It's awesome to be part of history."
CABRERA, KEPLER, WILSON EXIT EARLY
Cabrera was replaced at first base by Navarro in the top of the second inning, as he left due to lower back tightness. In the same inning, Twins right fielder Max Kepler was replaced by Adrianza as a pinch-hitter. Kepler injured his left hip on a throw to home in the bottom of the first, but the Twins believe it's a minor injury.
"He's OK," Molitor said. "I think he just took an awkward fall there. We'll check him out in the morning. I don't think it's anything major."
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson exited in the eighth after getting hit in the right shin on a line drive from Joe Mauer, and was diagnosed with a right fibular fracture. The liner had an exit velocity of 103.8 mph. Wilson tried to throw a warmup pitch but limped off the mound.
Candelario also left the game in the eighth inning with a right knee contusion after running into the dugout railing trying to catch a foul ball.
Twins: Right-hander Jose Berrios (12-8, 3.94 ERA) will take the mound in the series finale against the Tigers at 11:10 a.m. CT. on Sunday. Berrios struggled against the Yankees in his last start, giving up three runs over 3 1/3 innings
Tigers: The Tigers wrap up their home schedule at Comerica Park on Sunday with a 12:10 p.m. ET matinee against the Twins. Right-hander Buck Farmer (4-4, 7.11) gets the start in search of his first win at home since June 7 and first win anywhere since Sept. 8.
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