The Detroit Tigers recovered quickly from the loss of their biggest star. They now have a chance to collect a series win over a key division rival.
The Tigers rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Wednesday night. Detroit was playing its first game since learning Miguel Cabrera would miss the remainder of the season with a ruptured biceps tendon.
“We talked about it beforehand,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Miggy’s down, we lost a tough one last night but the one thing this ballclub has done to this point is always bounce back. They always come back with fight and they did it tonight.”
The Tigers will rely on a younger, unheralded group of players to carry them the rest of the way. John Hicks, who replaced Cabrera at first base, had three hits Wednesday. So did utilityman Niko Goodrum. Victor Reyes, a Rule 5 draftee who has played sparingly, knocked in the go-ahead run.
“That’s when a team is rolling,” right fielder Nicholas Castellanos said. “Flip a coin. Everybody’s picking up the slack, everybody’s doing their part. Even when I don’t come through, Candy (Jeimer Candelario) doesn’t come through or (Leonys) Martin doesn’t come through, that’s OK because we know the guy behind us is going to step up and do it.”
Michael Fulmer will oppose Lance Lynn in the finale of the three-game series Thursday afternoon.
Fulmer (2-5, 4.40 ERA) got a no-decision in his last start but it was one of his most powerful performances this season. He held Cleveland to one run on five hits in seven innings while recording seven strikeouts Friday.
He threw 71 fastballs between 95 and 99 mph that evening.
“I finally felt like I was back to my old self a little bit,” Fulmer told the Detroit News afterward. “My fastball was coming out good. My change-up and slider were there. Now I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing, keep getting better.”
He’s given the Twins fits in his three major league seasons. Fulmer has won all of his four career stats against them while posting a 3.04 ERA. He’s struck out 23 in 23 2/3 innings in those outings.
Lynn (4-4, 5.08 ERA) has settled into a groove after a slow start. He’s won three of his last four outings, including a six-inning stint Friday when he held the Los Angeles Angels to one run on four hits in a no-decision.
“It’s getting there,” Lynn told mlb.com afterward. “Had the one inning (in the second) where I gave up the run, threw a bunch of pitches, which cost me the ability to go deeper into the game. But overall, my stuff was good.”
That quality stretch began with his best performance of the season, when he held the Tigers scoreless for 6 2/3 innings on May 22.
In three career starts against Detroit, Lynn is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA.
Following Thursday’s matinee, Minnesota heads to Cleveland for a three-game series while Detroit begins an eight-game road trip against the Chicago White Sox.
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