Torii Hunter stroked a go-ahead, two-run double as part of a four-run seventh inning and the Detroit Tigers ran away with a 7-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in the middle test of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Victor Martinez capped the two-out rally with a run-scoring double, while Miguel Cabrera put the game away in the eighth with a bases-loaded double that plated all three runners to help the Tigers to their third win in four games.
Drew Smyly (5-0) earned the victory after retiring all three hitters he faced in relief of starter Anibal Sanchez, who struck out eight over 6 2/3 frames of one-run ball.
Jose Veras recorded the final out of the eighth before spinning a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his 20th save of the season.
Minnesota starter Kevin Correia (8-10) held the AL Central leaders scoreless over the first six frames, but was charged for all four runs -- two earned -- in the decisive seventh inning.
"That's the position you're trying to get yourself in, a one-run lead in the seventh with two outs. You end up giving up four runs it's tough," Correia lamented. "You pitch well and you have nothing to show for it really."
Brian Dozier knocked in the lone run for the Twins, who have lost five of their last six games.
Neither starter budged over the six frames, but Sanchez issued a two-out walk to Pedro Florimon in the seventh that proved costly, as Florimon swiped second and scored when Dozier followed with a base hit to center for a 1-0 lead.
Detroit answered in the home half, as Bryan Holaday and Austin Jackson smacked back-to-back two-out singles to keep the frame alive.
Hunter then punched a double the opposite way into the gap in right-center, allowing Holaday and Jackson to cross the plate for a 2-1 lead.
"My job up there is to get a pitch I can handle and put a good swing on it, and whatever develops after that, you can't control," Hunter said. "I put a good swing on the ball and it developed into a double."
After intentionally walking Cabrera, Correia was lifted in place of Caleb Thielbar, who got Prince Fielder to swing and miss at strike three, but the high, inside pitch evaded catcher Ryan Doumit and skipped to the backstop.
Doumit got to the ball and fired to first, but Fielder beat the throw and Hunter, who never stopped running on the play, scored all the way from second to make it 3-1.
Martinez followed with a line-drive double off the left-field wall to score Cabrera for a 4-1 cushion.
After Smyly and Veras combined on a perfect eighth, the Tigers tacked on three more in the home half to put the game out of reach.
Omar Infante stroked a leadoff single and Jackson came through with a two-out base hit before Hunter followed with a sharp grounder to second that Dozier couldn't handle, allowing Jackson to slide into second safely to load the bases.
Cabrera made Minnesota pay for the miscue, ripping a bases-clearing hit into the left-field corner.
Detroit improved to 9-6 against the Twins this season ... Correia has lost four of his last five decisions ... Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer missed his second straight game after being scratched from Tuesday's contest when he felt dizziness during batting practice ... Detroit finished 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.