Minnesota Twins first baseman Kennys Vargas, left, and Joe Mauer, celebrate after Mauer scored on a fielder's choice and Vargas scored on a wild throw from third baseman Nick Castellanos. ASSOCIATED PRESS
MINNEAPOLIS — Eduardo Escobar got a career-high five hits, including a homer and a triple, and the Minnesota Twins batted around twice in a 20-6 rout of the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
The 20 runs are the most in a major league game this season.
Danny Santana had a homer and four RBIs and Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe also homered for the Twins, who scored six runs in the second inning and nine in the sixth to drop the Tigers to 2½ games behind Kansas City in the AL Central race.
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Robbie Ray (1-4) lasted just 1 1-3 innings, giving up six runs and six hits. Ian Kinsler led off the game with a homer for Detroit, but the team with the vaunted starting pitching staff was reduced to using infielder Andrew Romine on the mound in the eighth inning. Arcia and Plouffe homered off Romine.
The Tigers dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Tampa Bay on Thursday in which David Price allowed just one hit. Before they opened the series against Minnesota, manager Brad Ausmus talked about the importance of the one big inning in baseball and how it usually makes the difference in who wins or loses.
Escobar and Santana hit two-run homers off Ray to get the Twins out to a 6-1 lead in the second inning. The short outing puts a lot of stress on the Tigers bullpen with three more games in the next two days.
Ausmus tried to get creative with his struggling relievers to keep them available through the weekend. No reliever pitched more than 1 2-3 innings before Romine entered.
Romine gave up a double to Kennys Vargas to begin the inning and then threw a wild pitch. Arcia and Plouffe followed with monster shots.
But Romine got a little mercy from the next batter, veteran Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki. He never swung the bat while striking out looking on a 3-2 pitch.
The Tigers scored four times in the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-5, but Minnesota sent 14 batters to the plate in the sixth inning to break it wide open. Joe Mauer came to the plate with the bases loaded twice in the inning, driving in two with a single and forcing one home on a walk, the sixth by a Tigers pitcher in a rugged frame that also included two errors from Kinsler at second base and Nick Castellanos at third.
Mauer had two hits and three RBIs and Vargas had three hits and three RBIs for the Twins, who lead the majors in runs scored this month with 113 in 20 games.
Tommy Milone gave up five runs — three earned — on 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings for the Twins and Ryan Pressly (2-0) got the win.
Tigers: Ausmus said RHP Anibal Sanchez, on the disabled list with a right pectoral strain, played catch before the game. Ausmus said Sanchez reported that everything went fine and he would play catch again on Saturday. Closer Joakim Soria (oblique) is scheduled to do some throwing on Saturday as well.
The Twins will recall right-hander Yohan Pino (1-5, 5.37) from Triple-A Rochester to start the first game of a day-night doubleheader. He will face Tigers righty Buck Farmer (0-0, 7.20), who is being recalled from Triple-A Toledo. Both teams are allowed to call a 26th player up for the twinbill.
In the night cap, Twins right-hander Trevor May (0-2, 9.00) will face Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander (10-11, 4.76).