DETROIT - Matt Boyd was due for a bounce-back.
After a spring training to remember in which he won the Detroit Tigers’ fifth starting rotation spot with exemplary control, his first start of the regular season last week was one to forget.
Boyd quickly turned the page on that today, following in the footsteps of the rest of the rotation with an outstanding outing against the Twins at Comerica Park.
Boyd didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning, exiting only because of an elevated pitch count, and batterymate James McCann provided the Tigers’ punch with his third home run of the season in a 2-1 win.
With the win, however early in the season it may be, the Tigers pulled into a tie with the Twins atop the American League Central division.
Boyd was great. He threw six shutout innings, allowing one hit and two walks. He struck out six. The only hit he allowed was a single to Robbie Grossman. He stranded Grossman at first base and was done after 97 pitches.
Through seven games, Tigers starting pitchers have recorded six quality starts, good for a 2.40 ERA. Not counting Boyd’s five-run performance against the White Sox on April 5, their ERA is 1.71.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, McCann hit his third home run of the season, off the fence and into the Tigers’ bullpen in leftfield. It was his second career home run against Twins veteran left-hander Hector Santiago and tied a team record.
For just the second time since 1913, the Tigers have homered in each of their first seven games. They last accomplished the feat in 2014.
Also, McCann became the first Tigers catcher to hit three home runs in the team’s first seven games, according to baseball-reference.com.
Santiago, for his part, wasn’t too shabby himself. He allowed two runs on three hits over 6 1/3 innings.
For the second straight day, the Tigers’ bullpen got the job done with relative ease.
Shane Greene couldn’t capitalize on an opportunity to pitch the seventh inning, recording one out, walking one and allowing a single, but lefty Kyle Ryan cleaned up his mess with a groundball double play to end the seventh inning.
Justin Wilson pitched the eighth inning and Francisco Rodriguez picked up his third save in four tries in the ninth inning. But it did not come without a bit of drama. The Twins plated one on back-to-back hits from Miguel Sano – a double – and Jason Castro – a single.
On the Castro single, Mikie Mahtook made a fantastic snag to hold Castro to one base.
Rodriguez allowed a single to Joe Mauer and then retired the next two men.
Contact Anthony Fenech: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.
Detroit Free Press