DETROIT – While the Twins inched closer toward 100 losses Wednesday, Brian Dozier continued his power surge.
Not only does he have a chance to hit more home runs in a season than any second baseman in MLB history, but he has chased down Mark Trumbo of the Orioles in the race for the MLB home run lead.
Dozier popped his 41st home run of the season during the Twins’ 9-6 loss to the Tigers, keeping him one homer behind Trumbo for the MLB lead. Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays isn’t far behind with 39. Chris Davis of the Orioles, Khris Davis of the Athletics, Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Kris Bryant of the Cubs all sit at 37.
Of course, the only Twin to win a home run title is Harmon Killebrew, who took five AL titles during his prolific power-hitting career. That doesn’t include one while with the Senators before the franchise’s move to Minnesota. Dozier has hit nine home runs in 13 games this month, an amazing run.
The Elias Sports Bureau recognizes home runs hit while playing that position. In that case, Dozier has hit 39 home runs, with two coming as a designated hitter on July 31. The MLB record is 42 hit by Davey Johnson in 1973 — with one home run hit during a pinch-hit appearance.
The Twins trailed 2-0 in the third inning and didn’t have a hit when they erupted for five fourth-inning runs off Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez. Dozier launched a first-pitch curveball into the seats in left. Kennys Vargas added an RBI single and Kurt Suzuki followed with a three-run homer to give the Twins a 5-2 lead.
“My routine is when I face a pitcher, I watch what he did to me last time and then watch what he did to me his previous start,” Dozier said. “In my second at-bat, he did the same thing to me. In my first at-bat, he threw me a couple heaters, but then second at-bat, he threw me the get-me-over [fastball]. So I kind of sat on it. If he threw me a fastball, I was going to sit on it.”
Twins starter Tyler Duffey had a good curveball, but couldn’t take advantage of it. Detroit scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-5 lead, the final run coming with Duffey on the bench watching J.T. Chargois giving up an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera.
In 3⅔ innings, Duffey was charged with six earned runs on eight hits and one walk with four strikeouts. He got two strikes on many Tigers batters, but they extended at-bats and Duffey couldn’t put them away.
“From the first inning on, they were fouling off pitches,” Duffey said.
Dozier’s RBI double in the fifth allowed Byron Buxton to score from first and tie the score at 6-6. Chargois and Pat Light held the score there, but Ryan Pressly hung a 1-2 slider in the seventh that Cabrera rocketed out to center for his 33rd homer of the season and a 7-6 lead for the Tigers.
Detroit added two runs in the eighth, an inning that began with James McCann reaching on a passed ball while striking out and eventually scoring. Jose Igelsias scored the final run when he raced home from third on a wild pitch.
That’s the way things are going for the Twins. They need to go 9-7 over their final 16 games to avoid losing 100 for the first time since 1982 (60-102).
Dozier’s home-run binge is the only thing worth watching right now.
“We got back to even,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Doz with another big hit. And you just have to fight your way through the last third. A couple guys did a nice job. Pressly threw OK, but he made a mistake with the breaking ball.”