Minneapolis, MN (WKZO) – Rick Porcello was solid in his first start of the season but the Twins’ offense was too much, as Minnesota clobbered Detroit 8-2 on Thursday afternoon, taking the opening season series two games to one.
For the second game in a row, the Tigers blew an early 2-0 lead. Josh Willingham’s two-run shot in the third tied the game and Trevor Plouffe’s solo blast in the fourth gave the Twins a 3-2 lead. Porcello allowed both long balls and lasted 5.1 innings, giving up six hits, while walking and striking out two.
Mike Pelfrey made his first start for the Twins, after spending the last seven seasons with the Mets, tossed 5.1 innings for the win. Pelfrey, who hadn’t started since last April after having Tommy John Surgery in May, allowed two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out one.
The Tigers were able to get to Pelfrey early, getting on the board in the opening inning when Torii Hunter’s ground out knocked in Austin Jackson from third. Jackson reached base on a walk to start the game and then later stole second and advanced to third when Joe Mauer’s throw bounced off his arm and into left field.
Hunter scored the Tigers’ second run in the third after reaching base on an error by Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon. Miguel Cabrera’s single knocked in Hunter for his fourth RBI off the year.
The Tigers had a chance to take the lead after loading the bases in the seventh inning with one out but were unable to cash. Prince Fielder struck out on a check swing and after a pitching change, Victor Martinez popped out to second killing the Tiger threat.
Minnesota broke the game open in the eighth, lighting up Brayan Villarreal for five runs. Villarreal lasted only 2/3 of an inning but was nearly out of the eighth without allowing a single run. With two down and runners on second and third, Chris Parmelee hit a sharp one hoper to Fielder who couldn’t play it cleanly. Parmelee beat out at a throw to first, scoring Justin Morneau. The Twins scored four more runs before Villarreal was pulled.
*Victor Martinez got his first two hits of the season, singles in the second and sixth innings. Martinez single in the sixth was the last pitch for Mike Pelfrey.
*Octavio Dotel made his first appearance of the season, replacing Porcello in the sixth with two runners on. Dotel struck out Chris Parmelee before getting Jamey Carroll to fly out to center to end the inning.
*Darrin Downs pitched a 1-2-3 seventh with two strike outs.
*Porcello allowed a walk and a single in the first after recording two outs.
*After Don Kelly got his first hit of the season in the fourth, Jhonny Peralta hit into an inning ending double play. Alex Avila grounded into a double play to end the eighth as well.
Doug Fister makes the start for the Tigers in the home opening on Friday. Ivan Nova will start for the Yankees. First pitch is set for 1:05pm on 590 WKZO