Technically, Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers are visitors when they play at Target Field. But it’s hard to imagine anyone looking more at home.
Cabrera added to his litany of ballpark records Tuesday with a double and home run, and even created a run with some surprising baserunning as Detroit cruised to its ninth consecutive victory in Minneapolis, 8-1 over the Twins.
The Twins lost their 96th game of the season. They must win five of their final 11 games to avoid finishing with the worst record in franchise history, which was 60-102 in 1982.
“He pretty much made a run happen by himself,” Twins pitcher Hector Santiago said of the two-time MVP, who legged out a double in the fourth inning, tagged up on a fly ball and moved to third, then surprised the Twins by breaking for the plate on a grounder to third, scoring a split second before catcher John Ryan Murphy could reach him with the tag. “He did a good job. He caught everybody off guard there.”
Nobody should have been caught off guard by Cabrera’s seventh-inning home run off Michael Tonkin, a vintage blast deep into the left field bleachers. It was Cabrera’s 40th career home run against the Twins — the most by any active player — and 12th at his home away from home. Cabrera trails Toronto’s Jose Bautista, who has 14 Target Field home runs, but owns just about every other visiting-player record in the 7-year-old ballpark: runs (39), hits (78), doubles (21), RBI (46), even walks (33). Cabrera is batting .350 in his 57 games here, with an astonishing 1.021 OPS.
The Tigers also got three runs from James McCann, who ended Santiago’s night with a three-run homer, more than enough for lefthander Matt Boyd. Brian Dozier led off the first inning with a single — extending his hitting streak to 23 games, longest by a Twin since Torii Hunter’s 23-gamer in 2007 — but Boyd didn’t allow another hit until Robbie Grossman’s seventh-inning solo home run, the only time a Twin reached third base all night.
Dozier’s hitting streak “has just been kind of a bonus,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s out there grinding it out, despite the fact [that] we’re closing in on some pretty bad numbers.”
That number now: 96 losses, tied for fifth most in franchise history, with 11 games to play.
Rosario’s season over
The Twins lost another player to injury on Tuesday, but they might get one back in another day or two.
Eddie Rosario’s season ended Sunday when he slid headlong into first base trying to beat out an infield hit, the team announced. The impact with the base fractured his left thumb, and he’ll be in a cast for six weeks or so.
“It’s kind of a disappointing end for him,” Molitor said of the second-year outfielder, who turns 25 next week. “As least we have clarity.”
Clarity on 2016, he means. Like most of his teammates, Rosario’s status for 2017 is unclear after a so-so season which included a monthlong stay at Class AAA Rochester. Rosario batted .385 with a .997 OPS in the first five weeks after his recall, but he finished the season with 91 strikeouts and only 10 unintentional walks.
While Rosario joins Trevor May, Trevor Plouffe and Danny Santana as players whose season abruptly ended over the past couple of weeks, it appears Miguel Sano will be back. Sano, who has missed a week because of a sore back, took two sessions of batting practice Tuesday and fielded some ground balls at third base.
“I’m sure he’s excited to get out there and try to prove he can get back,” Molitor said. “So far, it’s been a good day. Not sure when he’ll be back in there, but it’s been a good step forward.”
• Tom Lehman, former British Open champion and vice captain of the U.S. team in next week’s Ryder Cup, displayed the iconic trophy before Tuesday’s game, visited with the Twins in their clubhouse, and threw out the first pitch.
• Righthander Buck Farmer will make his first major league start since Aug. 29, 2015, on Wednesday, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced. Farmer, whose 13 appearances for Detroit this season have all been as a reliever, made 20 starts for Class AAA Toledo. He has a 4.07 ERA in 24 ⅓ major-league innings in 2016.