Kinsler homers, Price pitches Tigers to 4-2 win over Twins
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) It took David Price a little time to get rolling. Ian Kinsler was ready right out of the chute.
The two combined to give the Detroit Tigers a familiar result against division rival Minnesota.
Kinsler had a leadoff homer, a double and three RBIs to back Price's eight innings as the Tigers beat the Twins 4-2 on Thursday night.
Price (9-2) struck out eight in his final start before going to the All-Star Game. He allowed five hits and two unearned runs. The left-hander labored through the first four innings, but found his command late and retired the last 10 hitters he faced.
''I didn't feel as good tonight as I have in my previous starts,'' said Price, who hadn't reached the eighth inning since June 12. ''But I pitched deeper tonight. ... That's good when you can go out there and do that.''
Yoenis Cespedes added two hits and an RBI for the Tigers, who improved to 15-2 in games started by Price and 8-2 against the Twins this season. Joakim Soria earned his 20th save in 22 chances.
''On my day I want us to win and I tell these guys that,'' Price said.
Mike Pelfrey (5-6) gave up four runs and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings for Minnesota. Torii Hunter had a base hit and an RBI, but the Twins had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Kinsler hit the second pitch of the game into the left-field seats, his 32nd career leadoff homer.
It was an ominous start for Pelfrey after he struggled mightily in his previous two outings. But the big right-hander settled in after that against a lineup that has continued to pile up the runs even while slugger Miguel Cabrera has been on the disabled list.
The Tigers scored 7.2 runs per game in the first five since Cabrera strained his calf, but they had to scratch and claw for everything they got against Pelfrey.
Anthony Gose scored on a fielder's choice to tie the game 2-all in the sixth, and Pelfrey couldn't quite finish off a strong outing. Kinsler and Cespedes had RBI doubles in the eighth inning, and Price slammed the door on the Twins.
The Twins needed an error from third baseman Nick Castellanos and another ball to glance off his glove in the fifth to help them score their two unearned runs.
Price struck out heavy-hitting rookie Miguel Sano three times. Sano went hitless in four at-bats, the first time in his eight-game career in the big leagues that he has not had a hit.
''We made him work,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said about Price. ''I think we grinded out fairly well, as the boys like to say.''
Gose had two hits, including a double, for the Tigers, who entered 2 1/2 games back of the second-place Twins in the AL Central.
''For us and the situation we're in, every game is going to be important from here on out,'' Kinsler said. ''So this series is definitely important.''
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said right-hander Shane Greene will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo to start the series finale on Sunday. Greene was sent down June 12 after giving up 15 runs in two starts. He went 1-1 with a 3.42 ERA for Toledo.
''He's looked better,'' Ausmus said. ''He's improved since he got there, using his changeup more.''
Tigers: Cabrera received platelet-rich plasma therapy on his calf as he starts the rehab process, athletic trainer Kevin Rand told reporters before the game. ''We're hoping that he will be able to return in the six-week time frame. That's our hope,'' Rand said.
Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco will have surgery Monday to try to correct a chronic issue in his right ankle. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
The Tigers will send RHP Justin Verlander (0-2, 6.75 ERA) to the mound Friday to face Twins RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 2.25). Verlander was tagged for seven runs in five innings against the Blue Jays in his last start. Santana will be making his second start since returning from an 80-game suspension for taking a banned substance.