Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Aaron Hicks and the Minnesota Twins want to do more than just play out the string. That was certainly evident Tuesday night.
Hicks beat the throw on a two-out bouncer up the middle in the ninth inning, allowing pinch-runner Chris Herrmann to score and rally the Twins to a 4-3 victory over the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.
"It's so emotional. Everything is so emotional. These guys are fighting to win a pennant. We're fighting to try to win a ballgame. Big three-run homer by them. Our guys kept coming back and they win it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after his team snapped the Tigers' four-game winning streak.
"It's just an emotional time right now. There are a lot of emotions in the dugout and I'm proud of these guys. They're getting after it. They're fighting."
After J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer to give Detroit a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, Trevor Plouffe drew a one-out walk against Joe Nathan (4-4) and was replaced by pinch-runner Doug Bernier.
Bernier scored when center fielder Ezequiel Carrera dived for a line drive off the bat of Kurt Suzuki and missed it, allowing the ball to roll to the wall.
Herrmann ran for Suzuki and scored when Hicks battled Nathan to full count and beat out a bouncer fielded by shortstop Andrew Romine near second base.
"I was a little worried about the ball getting past Joe Nathan, and after that it's a race between me and the guy throwing the ball to first base and me trying to get to first base safely," Hicks said. "It definitely feels good for me, and not just me but for everybody to come back and get that win."
After Martinez's homer off Glen Perkins (4-3), it looked as if the Tigers had another big ninth-inning win as they try to maintain a slim lead over the second-place Royals in the AL Central.
Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in the ninth to rally the Tigers to a win in Monday's series opener.
Minnesota rookie slugger Kennys Vargas was a double shy of the cycle and hit a home run in the sixth that made it 2-0.
Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, who hasn't won since July 1, held the Tigers scoreless over eight innings and only allowed two runners to reach second base, but finished with another no-decision.
"Nolasco was solid," Gardenhire said. "That's two times in a row with what we are hoping for, and he just pitched his tail off. That's just great stuff. He deserved a win and didn't get it, but we got a win, which is very important."
Detroit starter Rick Porcello struck out five and allowed two runs in eight innings.
Tigers: C Alex Avila became lightheaded during a pregame workout and missed his second straight game with concussion-like symptoms. He remains day to day. ... 3B Nick Castellanos was scratched from the lineup about an hour before the first pitch with left foot soreness. Don Kelly moved to third and Rajai Davis took over in center field. ... Anibal Sanchez (strained muscle) hopes to throw another bullpen session before pitching in a simulated game. He could pitch out of the bullpen when he returns.
Twins: SS Eduardo Escobar left in the fourth after jamming his right shoulder diving for Hunter's grounder. ... OF Oswaldo Arcia told Gardenhire he could play, but the manager gave Arcia the night off with a strained back.
David Price (14-11, 3.26 ERA) has lasted at least seven innings in six of his eight starts since being traded to the Tigers. He faces Kyle Gibson (11-11, 4.58) in Wednesday's series finale.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.