If the Tigers reach the postseason, they can look back at their dominance of the Twins as a determining factor.
Detroit won both games of the day-night doubleheader Thursday, pulling away to a 9-2 win in the day game, then holding on for a 4-2 win in the evening game.
The lopsided season series is now complete, with the Twins going 4-15 against the Motown Nine.
“Frustrating. Embarrassing,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. “If I was any smarter, I’d give you more words.”
That dominance includes the Twins losing all nine home games to the Tigers. The only other time in club history they were swept at home by a division opponent was 1979, when the Rangers went 6-0 against them in the old AL West.
Dozier had an up-and-down day himself, smashing his 42nd home run in the first game but watching hitting streak end at 24 in the nightcap, thanks to Justin Verlander and the Tigers bullpen.
The Twins were down 1-0 in the first inning of the first game when Dozier drove an Anibal Sanchez pitch into the second deck to tie the score.
Every time Dozier connects he seems to reach another milestone. The home run pulled him within one of Mark Trumbo for the major league lead.
It was his 40th home run as a second baseman, setting an American League record.
He scored his 100th run, allowing him to join Chuck Knoblauch as the only Twins to score at least 100 runs in three consecutive seasons.
The leadoff homer was the 19th of his career, moving him within one of Jacque Jones’ club record.
It gave him a hit in 24 straight games, tying Lenny Green for the third-longest streak in Twins history.
He also has 99 RBI. He’ll become the first Twin since Harmon Killebrew in 1969 to hit 40 home runs, score 100 runs and drive in 100 runs in one year.
“It’s just another number,” Dozier said of the home run. “At the same time, the fans are enjoying it, so you come out and you play for them. A chance to do it at home is pretty cool.”
But it came during the Twins’ 97th loss of the season, as the Tigers scored six runs in the ninth — including one on a wild pitch thrown by Pat Light during an intentional walk — to pull away.
Ervin Santana was uncharacteristically wild for one inning in the second game, and it put the Twins in a hole.
After striking out the side in the first inning, Santana gave up a single to Victor Martinez, then walked the next three batters to force in the first run of the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a sacrifice fly to put Detroit ahead 2-0.
Juan Centeno hit a home run in the third inning. Then Byron Buxton homered to center in the fifth inning as the Twins tied the score. As soon as they tied it, they gave it away.
Justin Upton reached on an infield single and took second on Dozier’s throwing error. Erick Aybar singled to center, scoring Upton.
Then Santana threw a wild pitch — it was more Centeno’s fault — allowing Aybar to move to third. Centeno was charged with a passed ball, allowing Aybar to score and put the Tigers ahead 4-2.
Dozier was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the second game as his hitting streak ended.
“It’s quite a run to put together a hitting streak while you’re chasing down some home run numbers,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “That speaks for itself.”
Joe Mauer was unable to play in Game 2 despite being a career .333 hitter against Justin Verlander. That suggests how much his sore right quad is affecting him right now.
Now the question is: When will Mauer play again? The Mariners are starting lefthanded pitchers in each of the first two games of the upcoming series at Target Field, and Molitor has been sitting Mauer against lefties. That would make his next possible start Sunday, the final home game of the season.
Right fielder Max Kepler left the game after the seventh inning because of a mild neck strain suffered when he bounced off the wall in foul territory while trying chase down Jose Iglesias’ double. Kepler is day to day. Iglesias advanced to third on the play, and Kepler was charged with an error.