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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Polanco's baserunning impresses Molitor

    A couple of extras from a rainy night in Minneapolis:

    Jorge Polanco impressed his manager with a couple of smart baserunning plays in the third inning.

    Polanco laced a 2-2 slider into the right-field corner, easily scoring Brian Dozier from second base. And when J.D. Martinez didn’t pick up the ball cleanly, Polanco sped up at second base and headed for third. Good job of recognizing he could take the extra base with one out, Molitor credited.

    When Joe Mauer followed with a ground ball to second base, Polanco froze a few steps off third base, making certain that Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler would throw to first. When he did, Polanco scooted home with another run.

Light sees first action

    Pat Light made his Twins debut on Tuesday, relieving Michael Tonkin with one out in the seventh inning. The righthander allowed a single to J.D. Martinez, but then struck out Justin Upton and retired Casey McGehee on a line drive to center field.

    “It was a situation where I had to get ready quick,” said Light, who was acquired from Boston at the trade deadline three weeks ago. “It’s actually sometimes good getting ready quick — just get your arm loose and get out there.”

    It was Light’s third career appearance in a major-league game, and by far his best. In his debut in April, Light allowed two runs in one inning of work; in July, he was hit around for six runs, five earned, while recording five outs. That’s a career ERA of 23.62 — reduced to 18.90 by Tuesday’s success.

     “It was good to get out there and pitch well,” Light said, “especially after those first couple in Boston.”

Losing streak continues

    Paul Molitor on the Twins’ five-game losing streak, their longest since mid-June: “I’m holding on to hope that we’re going to play better and get back on track. This started on that last homestand, where we didn’t play particularly well, and things got a little sloppy. “

Up-and-down Gibson knows Tigers well

    Kyle Gibson has given up six runs in two of his four August starts. He’s also allowed two runs and in his last start, pitched his first nine-inning complete games in beating Atlanta.

    So it’s safe to say the Twins don’t know exactly what to expect tonight from their up-and-down righthander.

    The Twins start a brief three-game homestand at 7:10 p.m., assuming the looming rain showers pass through quickly, and Gibson will make his ninth career start, albeit first this year, against Detroit.

    “He’s got a lot of experience against this Tigers team,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Some guys have done fairly well against him, but there’s no secrets. They know what he’s going to do, and they have their approach.”

    That approach generally involves drawing walks — Detroit has 20 in 44 2/3 career innings against Gibson — but not hitting home runs, since the Tigers have only four all-time. As for the Tigers hitters, beware leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, whose nine career hits against the Twins’ righthander are the second-most by any MLB player (KC’s Alcides Escobar has 10). Kinsler is 9-for-21 (.429) against Gibson, while Miguel Cabrera is 5-for-15 (.333).

    Gibson is 3-4 with a 5.04 ERA against Detroit; Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers’ righthander, is 4-4 with a 2.49 ERA against Minnesota, but lost his only start against the Twins this season.

    Molitor said he won’t be shuffling his rotation, though he and his coaching staff considered it given Monday’s off day.  That means Hector Santiago, Ervin Santana and Gibson will start over the weekend in Toronto.

    Here are the lineups for the first game of three with the Tigers, who have lost 10 of their last 14 games, but who are 7-2 against the Twins:

TIGERS

 

Kinsler 2B

Aybar SS

Cabrera 1B

V. Martinez DH

J.D. Martinez RF

Upton LF

McGehee 3B

McCann C

Maybin CF

 

Sanchez RHP

 

TWINS 

    

Dozier 2B

Polanco SS

Mauer 1B

Plouffe 3B

Kepler RF

Sano DH

Rosario CF

Centeno C

Santana LF

 

Gibson RHP

7:10 PM (FSN)
Detroit 66-59
Minnesota 49-76