Jake Cave hit a pair of home runs, Kenta Maeda finished off his regular season with another strong start and the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 7-6 on Wednesday night to take over sole possession of the AL Central lead for the first time since late August.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 23: Jorge Polanco #11 of the Minnesota Twins congratulates teammate Jake Cave #60 on a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning of the game at Target Field on September 23, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 7-6. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Eddie Rosario added a two-run homer for Minnesota (35-22), which has won four straight. The Twins moved a half-game ahead of the second-place Chicago White Sox (34-22).

“We haven’t really talked about the standings or anything like that,” Cave said. “Everybody just kind of knows that our plan was to win out. Why wouldn’t you just want to win every game? That’s best-case scenario, so that’s what we’re doing these last few games.”

Maeda (6-1) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings with nine strikeouts.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 23: Kenta Maeda #18 of the Minnesota Twins delivers a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during the second inning of the game at Target Field on September 23, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

“Just generally happy to be starting in the postseason and also at the same time really honored,” Maeda said through a translator. “I’m just glad everything pitching-wise is going in a good direction consistently through the season.”

After Víctor Reyes’ infield hit leading off, Maeda (6-1) retired 15 of his next 16 batters and didn’t allow a hit during that stretch. He gave up a three-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the sixth.

Cabrera hit another three-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Sergio Romo, his ninth home run this season. Romo retired Jeimer Candelario on a groundout for his fifth save in six chances.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 23: Third base coach Ramon Santiago #39 of the Detroit Tigers congratulates Miguel Cabrera #24 on three-run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the sixth inning of the game at Target Field on September 23, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 7-6. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

“I thought we’d get back in that ballgame,” Detroit interim manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Maeda was tough early, but I thought our guys were grinding and we could get to their bullpen to get back in the ballgame.”

Tigers rookie Casey Mize (0-3) gave up six runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Mize, the first-overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, finished his rookie season with a 6.99 ERA in seven starts.

“I’m not lost,” Mize said. “I feel like I have the stuff to be here. It’s just execution, command, sequencing and all of that’s tough to do. I’m struggling with that right now. Pretty bad timing on my part.”

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 23: Casey Mize #12 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the second inning of the game at Target Field on September 23, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Cave hit a two-run homer in the fourth and an opposite-field solo shot to left leading off the sixth, giving him four homers this season.

“It was a fun game in our dugout,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I think the guys were really taking it all in. Obviously, some guys are following what’s going on around the league, but really, what we’re doing is just focusing on trying to play a good game and taking care of business on our end.”

MIGGY

Cabrera has 486 home runs, seven shy of Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 28th. He became the fourth player to reach 1,200 RBIs with Detroit. Cabrera also scored his 1,455th run, surpassing Bobby Abreu for most among Venezuelan-born players.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 23: Isaac Paredes #19 of the Detroit Tigers congratulates teammate Miguel Cabrera #24 on a three-run home run against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning of the game at Target Field on September 23, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 7-6. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

LOOKING AHEAD

Baldelli said the starting pitchers for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday would likely be his rotation for the first round of the playoffs. Maeda is lined up to start the first game next week, followed by José Berríos and Michael Pineda.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: DH Nelson Cruz missed his fourth straight game with right knee soreness. Cruz ran before the game to test his readiness and Baldelli said he was available to pinch-hit, if needed. Baldelli said Cruz wouldn’t be back in the lineup until he’s 100 percent.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer (0-2, 8.17 ERA) will start the first game in Kansas City on Thursday as Detroit has a four-game series to end the season. Fulmer has started nine games in his comeback from elbow surgery but hasn’t pitched more than three innings or 65 pitches. LHP Kris Bubic (1-6, 3.97) is scheduled to start for the Royals.

Twins: Berríos (5-3, 3.72) will start Friday against Cincinnati. He owns a 2.05 ERA in four September starts.

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