For the first time in three days, the Detroit Tigers took the field for a baseball game.
Set to open a four-game series from Thursday through Sunday against the Minnesota Twins, the two teams boycotted their game Thursday to protest racial inequality, and Friday’s doubleheader was postponed due to inclement weather.
But the Tigers finally got back in action and didn’t disappoint in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, earning an 8-2 win in seven innings against the Twins (20-13) at Comerica Park behind a four-hit outing from left-hander Matthew Boyd.
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The Tigers (14-16) combined to score four runs in the fourth and fifth innings to give Boyd a cushion. They chased Twins’ starter Randy Dobnak with one out in the fifth, and when left-hander Lewis Thorpe replaced him, Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire countered by pinch-hitting Jorge Bonifacio.
And Bonifacio delivered with a two-run single to left field for a five-run lead.
Detroit entered Saturday with eight of its next 10 games against the Twins, with a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday with the Milwaukee Brewers sandwiched between.
The Tigers have left-hander Tarik Skubal scheduled to throw Game 2 vs. the Twins.
Before the first pitch of Game 1, the Tigers and Twins had a moment of silence to pay tribute to actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in “42” and also starred in “Black Panther,” among other films. Boseman died Friday from colon cancer. He was 43.
Both teams celebrated Jackie Robinson Day during the doubleheader, with all players and coaches wearing the No. 42.
Through six starts, Boyd had given up 27 runs. And though he allowed a leadoff single to Jorge Polanco, he delivered his best start of the season.
[ Detroit Tigers’ Matthew Boyd struggles: ‘I stepped away from what brought me success’ ]
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He gave up two runs (one earned) in six innings of four-hit ball, lowering his season ERA to 7.27. He struck out six and didn’t issue any walks. His unearned run scored because of a fielding error by Jeimer Candelario in the third inning.
Longtime Tigers killer Nelson Cruz launched a solo homer 437 feet to center field off Boyd in the sixth.
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Designated hitter Miguel Cabrera got close to the edge of the dugout when Cruz, his friend, stepped to the plate. He bantered Cruz before his at-bat, and the 40-year-old ended up grounding out to Boyd, who flipped the ball to second base for a force-out.
To go with Cabrera’s fun in the dugout, he ripped a two-run double to the center-field wall to give the Tigers an 8-2 lead in the sixth. With the hit, he moved to 50th on MLB’s all-time hits list, tying Tigers Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer with 2,839 hits. Cabrera, who finished 1-for-4, passed Wade Boggs for 23rd on the all-time doubles list with 579.
With his leadoff line-drive single to left field, Victor Reyes extended his hitting streak to eight games. He finished 4-for-4 with four singles in Game 1.
He has three four-hit games in his career, the last coming Sept. 3, 2019, against the Kansas City Royals.