MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins managed just four hits on Sunday, Aug. 25, against Tigers starter Matthew Boyd. But when they did hit the ball off him, they hit it hard and made it count.
All four of those hits were above 100 mph off the bat and all four were extra-base hits. The four hits provided more than enough run support for Martin Perez in the Twins’ 7-4 win over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
“Our offense wasn’t as potent as it normally was, but I think the hits we did have were big ones,” catcher Mitch Garver said.
The first hit — a Garver ball struck at 104.4 mph — hit high off the wall in right-center in the third inning. It just missed clearing the wall, though it did bring home Jonathan Schoop, who had walked before him.
The next hit, an inning later, was another double. This one, off the bat of Miguel Sano, was scorched at 112.7 miles per hour and led off the fourth inning. The next batter, Max Kepler, was hit by a pitch, before C.J. Cron unleashed his 21st home run of the season.
Cron sent a ball 410 feet out to center field for just his third home run of the month. The three-run blast broke open the game, giving the Twins (79-51) a five-run lead at the time.
“He was keeping us off balance,” Cron said of Boyd. “We put together some good at-bats to get guys on base and we kind of capitalized once guys were on base, which was big for us.”
The fourth and final hit off Boyd was another home run — a Schoop liner at 114.9 miles per hour that stayed just within the left field foul pole for a two-run blast in the sixth inning.
The Twins also scored a run on a Nelson Cruz groundout. All that on a day where Perez pitched well. The southpaw struck out a pair of Tigers (39-89) in the first inning and was off and running.
He allowed just two runs in his start — both coming in the fifth inning — and lasted six innings. Unlike Boyd, the few hits off him weren’t quite as hard and didn’t travel nearly as far. Perez struck out five while walking one.
“I feel better when I use both sides of the plate with my cutter,” Perez said. “If they don’t show me that they can hit that pitch, I’m going to continue to throw it. I think everything was good.”
After a couple shaky starts at the beginning of the month, Perez has now rebounded in his last three starts, giving up a combined four earned runs in 17 innings pitched.
Lewis Thorpe gave up a pair of runs in the ninth inning before being optioned to Triple-A after the game, but with an inning from Thorpe and two from Cody Stashak, the Twins were able to rest their top relievers, giving them an extra day of rest to pair with Monday’s off day.
“It was a good effort from all of our guys, top to bottom,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I thought we pitched very well, thought we played well behind our pitches and swung the bats pretty well. (We) had some good timely, impactful swings.”