Minnesota Twins rout Detroit Tigers, 12-1
By NOAH TRISTER
AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT — With a postseason berth tantalizingly close, the Minnesota Twins snapped out of their mini-slump in emphatic fashion.
Joe Mauer and Jorge Polanco had three hits each, and the Twins extended their lead for the American League’s second wild card by beating the Detroit Tigers 12-1 on Thursday night. Minnesota is 2 1/2 games ahead of the Angels in the race for the AL’s final postseason spot. Los Angeles lost earlier in the day to Cleveland.
The Twins had lost five of six coming into the night, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees, but they routed a depleted Detroit team that is 4-17 in September after trading Justin Verlander and Justin Upton.
Minnesota is trying to make the postseason for the first time since 2010. The Twins lost 103 games last year.
Adalberto Mejia fell one out short of a win, allowing a run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. Dillon Gee (3-2) was credited with a victory in relief.
Jordan Zimmermann (8-13) yielded three runs and five hits in four innings in his first start since Sept. 2. He’s been dealing with neck issues for much of his two years with the Tigers.
“This was probably the best location and best velocity I’ve had in two years. I felt great,” Zimmermann said.
Byron Buxton gave the Twins a 3-1 lead with a two-run single in the fourth, and Minnesota scored another run in the fifth.
The highlight for the Tigers may have come courtesy of their bat boy, who was seated in front of the dugout when he calmly reached out his right arm and barehanded a sharply hit foul ball off the bat of Detroit’s Efren Navarro in the eighth.