MINNEAPOLIS — Brian Dozier can only do so much. The Minnesota Twins, already hamstrung by poor pitching, have lost their way at the plate, too.
Matt Boyd breezed through eight innings, backed by home runs from James McCann and Miguel Cabrera as the Detroit Tigers beat the Twins 8-1 on Tuesday night to step forward to cut the deficit between them and the second AL wild card spot to 1½ games.
Boyd (6-4) bounced back from an 8-1 defeat by the Twins at home last week, giving up a homer to Robbie Grossman in the seventh among only three hits allowed. He matched his career best with seven strikeouts and walked just one, after being pounded by Minnesota for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings on Sept. 13.
Dozier had a lonely leadoff single in the bottom of the first and stole second base with none out, only to be stranded. Max Kepler walked in the second inning and was quickly caught stealing. Then Boyd retired 14 straight batters until Grossman went deep with one out in the seventh.
“He was on tonight, and you’ve got to tip your hat to him,” said Twins center fielder Byron Buxton.
The Twins, who allowed eight or more runs for the 39th time in this awful season, have scored just five times in the last four games. With Trevor Plouffe, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano and Joe Mauer injured, the Twins have lost some punch.
“You can tell that some of the guys who aren’t used to playing this long into the season, maybe taking a little bit of a toll, but you’ve got to try to find a way to finish as strongly as you can,” manager Paul Molitor said.
Hector Santiago (12-9), who lost for the first time in his last five starts, wasn’t exactly a hard-luck loser. He gave up a three-run shot into second deck above left-center in a four-run sixth to McCann. Cabrera hit his 34th homer the following inning, a two-run drive against Michael Tonkin.
Detroit played without designated hitter Victor Martinez (bruised knee) and second baseman Ian Kinsler (concussion-like symptoms), both having been hit by pitches from Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer on Sunday.
“You take away two pitches, I think it’s a different game,” said Santiago, who lasted 5 1/3 innings.
MIGGY CAN MOVE
Cabrera started the fourth inning by crushing a double to right field, sliding in to beat the throw. The hulking power hitter hustled to advance a base on a flyout to medium-range center field. Then he rumbled home for a 2-0 lead on a groundout to third, sneaking his foot underneath catcher John Ryan Murphy’s tag after the throw home to try to get the double play.
“We had three chances to throw out Cabrera. I don’t know if you ever see that,” Molitor said.
Santiago teasingly shouted, “What are you doing?” to Cabrera when he backed up third on the tag-up throw.
“I think he caught everybody off guard,” Santiago said.
Cabrera is batting .375 in 32 at-bats over seven games at Target Field this season, all Tigers victories, with five doubles, three homers, seven runs and six RBIs.
Dozier stretched his hitting streak to 23 straight games, the longest for the Twins in nine years since Torii Hunter had one of the same length and the fourth-longest in the major leagues this season.
“It’s just one of those things where he keeps finding a way to get it done,” said Molitor, who was booed when he pulled Dozier for a pinch hitter in the ninth.
ROSARIO WON’T RETURN
Rosario was diagnosed with a broken left thumb after diving into first base trying to beat out a grounder in the game on Saturday, and he’ll need six weeks to recover. After a rough start that led to his demotion to Triple-A in May, Rosario rebounded and became one of nine Twins players to reach 10 home runs. This is the first year they’ve had that many since 2004.
Sano (sore back) missed his seventh straight game, but he’s been taking groundballs and batting practice and should be able to play this week. Mauer was given another rest for his ailing quadriceps.
RHP Buck Farmer (0-0, 4.07 ERA in 13 relief appearances) will make his first start of the season for the Tigers on Wednesday night. Twins RHP Jose Berrios (2-7, 8.88 ERA) will take the mound for the 13th time. He finished only four innings in his last turn, but the rookie allowed two runs to match a season low.