DETROIT — Eduardo Escobar may be having the most unpredicted success on the surprising Minnesota Twins.
Escobar hit his 20th home run, Jorge Polanco also went deep and Minnesota beat the Detroit Tigers 10-4 on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep that moved the Twins closer to securing a wild-card berth in the playoffs.
“A part-time player most of the year and he ends up with 20 homers. I don’t know if anybody would have projected that,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Escobar was batting .208 as late as June 2. His three-run drive in the sixth off Victor Alcantara was his 11th home run since July 23.
Minnesota (82-74) opened a five-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels and a 5-game advantage over Kansas City and Texas for the second AL wild card. The Twins outscored the Tigers 39-12 in the sweep.
Polanco hit a first-inning solo homer off Buck Farmer (4-5). Brian Dozier’s second-inning RBI single and Zack Granite’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly built a 3-0 lead, and the Twins boosted their advantage to five runs in the fifth when Eddie Rosario had an RBI groundout and another run scored on an error by second baseman Dixon Machado. Joe Mauer’s two-run single in the sixth preceded Eduardo’s homer run.
“We’re focused. We’re doing it together,” Polanco said.
Detroit has lost seven straight and 14 of 16, dropping into last place in the AL Central. At 62-94, the Tigers will finish with their worst record since going 43-119 in 2003.
“I’m disappointed in the way the season went,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, told Friday he won’t return next season. “When you start the season, every team is hoping for big things, and it didn’t work out that way.”
Jose Berrios (13-8) won for the first time since he beat the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 30, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. Farmer gave up five runs, eight hits and three walks in five innings.
Andrew Romine scored on a wild pitch and Alex Presley hit an RBI single in the fifth. Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer off Michael Tonkin in the ninth.
When Tigers reliever Alex Wilson arrived home Saturday night with a cast on his right leg after breaking a fibula when hit by a liner off Mauer’s bat, Wilson’s 4-year-old son Jhett was inquisitive.
“He said, `What’s that?’” Wilson explained. “I told him I broke my leg. He asked, `Why did you do that?’”
Wilson’s daughter 2-year-old daughter Rosie cracked her collarbone Friday while play wrestling with her older brother.
Tigers: An MRI Sunday on 1B Miguel Cabrera revealed two herniated disks in his back, but the team wouldn’t rule out Cabrera playing again this season … 3B Juan Candelario (bruised right knee) is expected to be available Tuesday at Kansas City. … OF Tyler Collins (rib muscle) is day to day.
Twins: OF Max Kepler, who left Saturday’s game in the second inning with a left hip injury, said he will be available for Tuesday’s game at Cleveland. “I wouldn’t say it’s comfortable, but it’s manageable,” Kepler said of his pain level.
Twins: RHP Bartolo Colon (6-14) is slated to start Tuesday’s series opener at Cleveland. He is 7-5 with a 3.90 ERA in 13 starts against the Indians.
Tigers: RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-5) is to pitch against Kansas City on Tuesday. He has allowed one run over 12 innings in his last two starts and has not beaten the Royals since May 3, 2015.