By Noah Trister
DETROIT (AP) — Joe Mauer and Jorge Polanco had three hits each, and the Minnesota Twins extended their lead for the American League’s second wild card by beating the Detroit Tigers 12-1 on Thursday night.
The Twins are 2 ½ games ahead of the Angels in the race for the AL’s final postseason spot. Los Angeles lost earlier in the day to Cleveland.
Minnesota scored three runs apiece in the fourth and sixth innings, then added four more in the eighth. The Twins rebounded from a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees, routing a depleted Detroit team that is 4-17 in September after trading Justin Verlander and Justin Upton.
Adalberto Mejia fell one out short of a win, allowing a run and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. Dillon Gee (3-2) was credited with a victory in relief.
Jordan Zimmermann (8-13) yielded three runs and five hits in four innings.
Byron Buxton gave the Twins a 3-1 lead with a two-run single in the fourth, and Minnesota scored another run in the fifth. Mauer added a two-run double in the sixth and scored on a single by Polanco.
Max Kepler and Jason Castro hit two-run doubles in the eighth to make it 12-1.
Eduardo Escobar scored three runs for Minnesota.
Detroit’s Nicholas Castellanos ended his 17-game hitting streak.
The highlight for the Tigers may have come courtesy of their bat boy, who was seated in front of the dugout when he calmly reached out his right arm and barehanded a sharply hit foul ball off the bat of Detroit’s Efren Navarro in the eighth.
Twins: Manager Paul Molitor said there’s been no discussion of any shutdown date for All-Star 3B Miguel Sano, who is out with a left shin injury. “Without being flippant, there’s no certainty on how long we might play,” Molitor said. “He’s got to keep working like he’s got a chance.”
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (11-10) takes the mound Friday night against Detroit. He is 5-2 with a 3.25 ERA since being recalled from the minors in early August.
Tigers: Manager Brad Ausmus did not announce his starter for Friday when he spoke with reporters before Thursday’s game. He indicated he might have more information afterward.
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