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Twins dunk Tigers, 8-4, to keep hold on first place

Minnesota, which skidded into a five-day break having lost seven of 10 games, answered the bell, holding onto sole possession of first place with an 8-4 victory over the Tigers.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins third baseman Gio Urshela hits a sacrifice fly during the seventh inning Saturday, July 23, 2022, against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Raj Mehta / USA Today Sports
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DETROIT — The Minnesota Twins returned from a long all-star break on Saturday with the American League Central lead on the line.

Cleveland already had played and won two games before the Twins resumed their season against the Tigers at Comerica Park on Saturday, and their division lead was down to a single game.

Fortunately, the Twins came back ready to hit.

Minnesota, which skidded into a five-day break having lost seven of 10 games, answered the bell, holding onto sole possession of first place with an 8-4 victory over the Tigers.

The Twins’ lead was at least a full game pending the result of the second game of a double-header between the Guardians and White Sox in Cleveland.

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Major league batting leader Luis Arraez went 3 for 5 with a run scored and two RBIs and is now hitting .342. Right-hander Joe Ryan (7-3) surrendered one run on four hits and a walk and struck out seven for Minnesota.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez hits a two-run single in the seventh inning Saturday against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. Arraez, the American League's top hitter, finished the game with three hits.
Raj Mehta / USA Today Sports

Gio Urshela drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly in the seventh and one-out single in eighth, and Carlos Correa hit a solo home run, his 12th homer this season, in the third off Tigers starter Michael Pineda (2-6).

The Tigers helped a little, too, committing two errors that led to four unearned runs, but the Twins put pressure on Detroit’s defense from the start. They loaded the bases three times, finishing with 11 hits and 14 base runners.

Jhoan Duran pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down the victory.

The Twins’ first three batters of the game — Luis Arraez, Correa and Jorge Polanco — reached on singles off of Detroit starter Michael Pineda — and Arraez scored on Max Kepler’s sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. Pineda, however, got out of the jam without further damage, getting Alex Kirilloff to ground out to first and striking out Jose Miranda with a 10-pitch at-bat.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa smiles and gives a thumbs up during the seventh inning Saturday, July 23, 2022, against the Detroit Tigers. Correa had two hits in the game, including his 12 home run of the season.
Raj Mehta / USA Today Sports

Correa hit a one-out home run in the third, his 12th of the season, to give the Twins a 2-0 lead. Pineda got the next two batters on groundouts to second but he never returned, pulled with right triceps tightness. The right-hander was replaced by lefty Tyler Alexander, who held the Twins to one hit over the next three innings.

The Tigers finally got to Ryan in the sixth inning when Riley Greene hit a leadoff triple and scored on an inside-out, two-strike single to right to score him. The Twins thought Greene missed second base on his dash to third, and replay showed he might have. But after a lengthy video review, the play stood.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Joe Ryan throws during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Detroit. Ryan pitched 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
Raj Mehta / USA Today Sports

Ryan got the next two batters out before being replaced by right-hander Emilio Pagán, who got Harold Castro to fly out to Nick Gordon in Comerica’s vast center field to end the inning. Tyler Duffey followed with a scoreless inning of relief.

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The Twins expanded their lead with the help of two Tigers errors in the seventh inning. Kirilloff and Miranda started the inning with singles off left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin, and pinch-hitter Kyle Garlick reached on a fielder’s choice that also was an error on Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario, which loaded the bases for Gio Urshela.

The Twins third baseman plated Kirilloff with a sacrifice fly to center, and two outs later Arraez hit a bloop single to right field off reliever Joe Jiménez to score Miranda and Garlick for a 5-1 lead.

Minnesota loaded the bases with none out again in the eighth on a walk by Polanco and singles by Kepler and Kirilloff. After Miranda struck out, Gilberto Celestino – a defensive replacement for Garlick in the seventh, grounded to second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Schoop’s throw for a force at home was dropped by catcher Tucker Barnhart and Polanco scored to make it 6-1.

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Urshela followed with a bouncer over the head of shortstop Baez for an RBI single, and Gary Sanchez grounded into a fielder’s choice out to plate Kirilloff for an 8-1 lead.

It got a little interesting in the Tigers’ half of the inning when Detroit scored three two-out runs off two Twins relievers. Miguel Cabrera and Harold Castro hit RBI singles off Jovani Moran, and another scored on right-hander Trevor Megill’s wild pitch before Megill got Schoop to ground out to short.

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