Minnesota Twins: Twins extend lead in AL Central with win over Tigers

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DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 1: Victor Reyes #22 of the Detroit Tigers avoids the tag from shortstop Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins to steal second base during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 1, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 1: Victor Reyes #22 of the Detroit Tigers avoids the tag from shortstop Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins to steal second base during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 1, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins extended their lead in the American League Central to 5 1/2 games by defeating the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

The Minnesota Twins are starting to get hot at the right time as they’ve dominated their current road trip. With Sunday’s 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers, the Twins own a 5-1 record on the road trip and have won seven of their past eight games overall.

This stretch has become even sweeter with the Cleveland Indians getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend and has allowed the Twins to extend their lead in the American League Central to 5 1/2 games. That margin is the largest since the Twins held a five-game lead on July 16 and puts the odds to win the division title in their favor with 26 games remaining on the schedule.

One of the biggest keys to the Twins recent success has been their ability to jump on teams early in the game. During Minnesota’s current road trip, it has compiled 24 runs in the first and second inning including a five-run second inning against Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull on Sunday.

The Twins peppered the opposite field in the big inning, enjoying RBI singles from Jake Cave, Jason Castro, Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz. Although Brandon Dixon would drive in a run with a RBI double in the second inning, the Twins would tack on with a RBI single from Willians Astudillo in the fourth inning for a 6-1 lead.

That was plenty of run support for Michael Pineda, who put together a quality start allowing two runs over six innings. Although Sam Dyson would allow a home run off the bat of Jordy Mercer in the seventh inning, it was smooth sailing for the Twins, who would add on two more runs from RBI singles from Cruz and Rosario in the top of the eighth.

That would set up the highly anticipated debut of Brusdar Graterol in the ninth inning, who threw 100 miles per hour on his first pitch. The 21-year old would pick up a strikeout and run into a little bit of trouble with a pair of singles, but was able to induce a game-ending double play to seal the victory for the Twins.

Next. 5 questions for the Twins heading into September. dark

Minnesota will go for the four-game series victory on Monday afternoon as they’ll send Jake Odorizzi (14-6, 3.55 ERA) to the mound opposite Jordan Zimmerman (1-9, 6.24 ERA) for a 12:10 p.m. CT start.

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