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DETROIT (AP) — A.J. Achter's first career win came against a team he grew up rooting for.
The Toledo, Ohio, native pitched two solid innings in relief, and the Minnesota Twins routed Detroit 11-4, halting any hopes the Tigers had of clinching the AL Central title Friday night. Detroit could have wrapped up the division with a victory and a Kansas City loss, but neither of those things happened.
"I've gotten a couple jokingly angry texts from some of my people from back home who are big Tiger fans," Achter said. "It's just good for me to pitch in this type of environment."
The Tigers fell way behind early. Oswaldo Arcia hit a two-run homer in the first, and Minnesota led 6-0 in the fourth.
Minnesota starter Anthony Swarzak allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings, and with the score 6-3 in the fifth, Achter (1-0) came on with one out and men on first and second.
"He came in in a big situation," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You always tell yourself, try to put them in situations, especially being close to home like this, you want to make it as easy on him as you possibly could, but he came in and had no fear."
Victor Martinez came within a few feet of tying the game with a drive down the line in right, but it was caught in front of the wall, and Achter got J.D Martinez on a flyout to end the inning.
"The Tigers are a team I grew up rooting for — I think that's pretty well known," said the 26-year-old Achter, who played at Michigan State. "I came to games here, at least one a year, growing up."
Achter held the Tigers without a run until he allowed Miguel Cabrera's solo homer in the seventh.
Rick Porcello (15-13) allowed four earned runs in 3 2-3 innings. The Tigers did get a scoreless inning of relief from Anibal Sanchez, who pitched for the first time since Aug. 8 after being out with a pectoral strain.
Minnesota opened the scoring on Brian Dozier's RBI single in the first, and Arcia's home run made it 3-0. Dozier added a solo homer in the third, his 22nd of the year.
The Twins added a couple of unearned runs in the fourth when third baseman Nick Castellanos' throwing error allowed Chris Herrmann and Aaron Hicks to score.
Dozier and Danny Santana had three hits each for the Twins, and Dozier and Arcia drove in three runs apiece.
Achter's father wasn't in attendance Friday because he had a high school football game to coach, but he gave a game ball to his mother.
"That was pretty emotional. She just beat breast cancer this offseason," Achter said. "For her to be a part of this and to be here, it's all around a pretty special moment."
The Tigers are trying for a fourth straight division title, and the Royals have pushed them to the final weekend of the season. Kansas City clinched at least a wild card Friday and moved within one game of Detroit.
"We're still up a game, so the pressure is all on the Royals," Detroit outfielder Rajai Davis said. "This is still in our hands."
Twins: OF Jordan Schafer has a hyperextended right elbow. He was available to pinch-run but didn't play.
Tigers: Sanchez was activated from the disabled list before Tuesday's game in Detroit, but he didn't pitch until Friday. He threw 14 pitches against the Twins, allowing only one hit — an infield single by Santana.
Detroit LHP Kyle Lobstein (1-1) takes the mound against Minnesota RHP Ricky Nolasco (5-12) on Saturday night. Lobstein made his major league debut against the Twins last month, allowing three runs in 5 2-3 innings of relief.
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