MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Willians Astudillo had a career-high four RBIs, Tyler Austin added three and the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 9-3 on Thursday night.
Astudillo, playing in his 26th big league game, capped Minnesota’s five-run third inning when his two-out single drove in a pair of runs to give the Twins the lead. He also added a two-run double in the fifth.
Minnesota took two of three against Detroit in the final series between the teams this year. The Twins won the season series 12-7.
Tigers starter Francisco Liriano (5-12) left after just 2 1/3 innings due to lower back tightness. The former Twin exited with the bases loaded and wound up being charged with four runs.
Austin tied the game in the third with a double that scored Joe Mauer and Logan Forsythe. He also plated Forsythe in the fifth inning with a ground-rule double.
Astudillo has quickly become a fan favorite since debuting in late June. Including Thursday’s two-hit, four-RBI game, Astudillo is now batting .357 with 19 RBIs.
The versatile Astudillo also struck out on a check swing in the second inning, just the third time on what was his 83rd plate appearance that he’s struck out with the Twins.
The Tigers threatened in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out. Minnesota reliever Matt Magill recorded two big outs to end the inning. Magill struck out Grayson Greiner looking before getting JaCoby Jones to go down swinging for the third out.
Minnesota once again employed the opening pitcher strategy, with Gabriel Moya tossing just the first inning. The lefty gave up the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Nicholas Castellanos.
Stephen Gonsalves (2-2) took over for Moya in the second and pitched 3 1/3 innings. Gonsalves was tagged for a pair of runs on three hits and four walks but earned his second career win.
Twins: Manager Paul Molitor didn’t sound optimistic that 3B Miguel Sano (leg) would return in the team’s final few games this season. “Each day it’s looking less and less,” Molitor said. “He’s not really changing how he’s feeling, and I’m certainly not going to be someone to push him out there if he’s not comfortable playing.” Sano last played on Sept. 18.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann starts Friday’s game against the Brewers at Miller Park. He’s winless in his last three outings.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (11-11, 3.93 ERA) starts the first game of a doubleheader Friday against the White Sox. Berrios is looking for his first win since Aug. 4.