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Twins' playoff quest gets boost with win over Tigers

DETROIT -- The Minnesota Twins' quest for a wild card spot now moves to Cleveland. Meantime, the Detroit Tigers are going to Texas, the Chicago White Sox and then home. Brian Dozier's two-run double in the middle of a six-run second inning Sunday...

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Minnesota starting pitcher Ervin Santana pitches against Detroit on Sunday in Detroit. (Tim Fuller / USA Today Sports)

DETROIT - The Minnesota Twins’ quest for a wild card spot now moves to Cleveland.
Meantime, the Detroit Tigers are going to Texas, the Chicago White Sox and then home.
Brian Dozier’s two-run double in the middle of a six-run second inning Sunday sparked Minnesota to a 7-1 victory over Detroit that kept the Twins in the thick of the fight for the second American League wild-card playoff spot.
The Twins are 1½ games behind the Houston Astros in the wild-card standings.
“It’s good,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said after his team took two out of three from Detroit. “You keep trying to find ways to win.
“Now it’s on to Cleveland - and they’re right behind us. We’ve got to try to figure out a way to get it done there. And we’re going up against some awfully good pitching.”
“In my mind, I was thinking back to a year ago when we were coming up the stairs ready to dump champagne on each other,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s a much better feeling.
“Baseball’s a difficult game, more than it looks on paper at times. As much as you like to prognosticate in February and March, that’s why you have to play ‘em.
“I do have confidence (about next year). We weren’t really a team for more than a couple days all year, in terms of having everyone (healthy).”
Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf was one of the stop-gap starters Detroit called on when the Tigers traded southpaw David Price and then saw starting right-hander Anibal Sanchez and newly acquired lefty Daniel Norris go down with injuries.
Wolf (0-5) was smacked for six runs (two unearned) and six hits before he could complete the second inning. Left-hander Kyle Ryan shut out the Twins for 4 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Ervin Santana (7-4) shut out Detroit on four hits until doubles by left fielder Tyler Collins and shortstop Josh Wilson gave the Tigers a run in the seventh.
Santana finished the seventh and wound up walking two while striking out five. Right-hander Michael Tonkin worked the eighth and ninth for the Twins.
“Ervin seemed like he was in control,” Molitor said. “But he gave up a couple of hits in that first inning and first inning seems to be huge for him.
“It was good to see us attack Wolf. We had some big hits in that inning, for sure. We weren’t able to add on, though, until that home run.”
Eduardo Nunez singled to begin the Minnesota second inning and was safe at second when Detroit shortstop Josh Wilson muffed a ground ball for an error.
Kurt Suzuki blooped an RBI single into short left and rookie Byron Buxton lined an RBI double to right center before Dozier drove in two runs with a double into the left field corner.
Aaron Hicks lined an RBI single to left and Torii Hunter completed the six-run inning with a run-scoring single to left.
Buxton got his first major league home run, a liner to left off right-hander Jose Valdez in the eighth.
“I don’t know which was better,” Molitor said, “Buxton’s first home run or (designated hitter Miguel) Sano’s first triple.”
-- 3B Trevor Plouffe did not play for Minnesota on Sunday because of illness that is making its rounds on the team.
-- Manager Paul Molitor kept impressive rookie LF Eddie Rosario out of the Twins’ lineup because he didn’t want the left-handed hitter facing Tigers veteran LHP Brad Wolf.

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