DETROIT (AP) — Max Kepler had three hits and drove in three runs to help the Minnesota Twins to an 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Kepler is hitting .320 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 25 at-bats against Detroit this season.
Minnesota’s Devin Smeltzer (2-0) picked up the win, giving up two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
“Today’s the best I’ve felt,” Smeltzer said. “My fastball velocity and fastball command is the best it has been, I was able to move the ball up and down and my changeup was good.”
Tigers starter Rony Garcia (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs and seven hits in five innings.
“We didn’t do a good job of controlling the top half of their lineup, and they did a pretty good job of controlling the top half of our lineup,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “When that happens, it is an uphill battle.”
Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-run double by Trevor Larnach, and the Twins added four more runs in the third.
Byron Buxton led off with a single — his first hit in 24 at-bats against Detroit this season — and scored on Kepler’s double.
Jorge Polanco singled, and with one out Gary Sanchez hit a three-run homer to left for his sixth homer of the season.
Miguel Cabrera singled — career hit No. 3,030 — and scored in the fourth to make it 6-1, but Kepler added a two-run single in the seventh.
Daz Cameron ended Smeltzer’s day with an RBI double in the seventh.
“The good thing about Devin is that he throws strikes,” Sanchez said. “All his pitches were working today and he attacks the hitters. That plan works for us.”
Tigers rookie Spencer Torkelson went 3-for-4 in the first game, his second straight three-hit game.
“I’m seeing the ball a lot better…