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.
Tigers starter Rony Garcia (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs and seven hits in five innings.
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 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.
Twins: Shortstop Carlos Correa was placed on the COVID-19 list and replaced by INF Jermaine Palacios, who made his major-league debut in the first game. Kepler returned after missing Monday’s game with a sore quadriceps.
Tigers: DH Miguel Cabrera played after sitting out two games with back stiffness.
SANCHEZ’S HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Sanchez, who has homered in the first two games of the series, has gone deep before in Detroit. On Aug. 22, 2017, he became the only player to clear the left-field seats with a homer since Comerica Park opened in 2000. The home run was estimated at 493 feet, breaking the previous stadium record by nearly 30 feet.
The teams finish the doubleheader with a night game. Detroit’s Joey Wentz (0-1, 20.35) will make his second career start, while Minnesota’s Cole Sands (0-0, 6.75) will start for the first time after two relief appearances. Both pitchers are serving as their team’s 27th player for the doubleheader. Tigers utilityman Kody Clemens is expected to make his major-league debut in the second game.