Tigers Jump Out To Big Lead Early, Then Hold Off Twins 12-9
DETROIT -- Despite falling a single short of hitting for the cycle in front of his childhood idol, Eugenio Suarez still had a memorable game.
Playing in just his eighth career game, Suarez had a double, triple, homer, two RBIs and scored three runs in Detroit's 12-9 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. He grounded into a force out in the eighth inning, ending his bid for the cycle.
Making it even better, former Tigers star Magglio Ordonez was watching from a Comerica Park suite. Suarez grew up in Venezuela with Ordonez as his favorite player, and wears the same No. 30 jersey.
The 22-year-old Suarez started the season in Double-A, and only got 12 games at Triple-A before coming up to the Tigers early this month. He's hitting .400 with three homers in the big leagues.
Suarez led off Detroit's seven-run third inning with a homer and added an RBI double before it was over, but the Tigers had to hold on after jumping out to an 11-1 lead. The Twins scored eight runs in the final three innings against a slumping Tigers bullpen.
Ian Krol got his first major league save by getting the last four outs, but also gave up a two-run homer.
Detroit came into the game having lost 17 of 24 after a fast start to the season, but it was helped by another strong pitching performance. Anibal Sanchez (3-2) was charged with three runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Sanchez, Drew Smyly and Max Scherzer have combined for a 1.69 ERA in Detroit's last three games.
Sanchez was in complete control before he walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh and allowed a one-out RBI triple to Eduardo Nunez. Evan Reed then came in, and Nunez scored on a passed ball.
Samuel Deduno (2-5) lasted just 2 2/3 innings for Minnesota, which had won three in a row. The right-hander allowed seven runs and seven hits, struck out three and walked two.
"Nothing was good today," he said. "I didn't make good pitches, and I didn't get much luck. I just couldn't stop their offense."
Suarez started the third with a drive over the bullpens in left, moments after Ordonez was shown on the video board and received a huge ovation.
Suarez drove in Nick Castellanos with a double later in the inning, and Torii Hunter also had an RBI double. Martinez's drive off the top of the right-field wall was originally ruled a double, but quickly became a two-run homer after a replay review.
Ian Kinsler drove in the seventh run of the inning with an infield single, and third baseman Trevor Plouffe strained his left oblique diving for the ball. Plouffe stayed in the game for another batter, but had to leave after aggravating the injury while throwing out Hunter to end the inning.
Suarez added a triple in the seventh. Only one player -- Cliff Heathcote of the 1918 St. Louis Cardinals -- has recorded a cycle within the first eight games of his career.
The Twins scored three times in the seventh and eighth to close to 12-7, but Krol retired Joe Mauer with the bases loaded for the final out of the eighth. Krol allowed Brian Dozier's homer in the ninth before finally finishing a game that had lasted almost four hours.
"We kept swinging, and they didn't pitch very well after the starter came out, so we had chances," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We got back into it, and the guys were up and yelling in the dugout."
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