"That's one of those freak games. You won't see many of those," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "If you have to be part of a game like that, you want to be on the right side."
With the game tied at 2 heading into the third, the Tigers turned a close game between division rivals into a blowout thanks to four runs in the third inning, six in the fourth and seven in the fifth.
"They just whacked everything [Twins starter Boof Bonser] threw up there and we couldn't really do much about it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The bullpen had a hard time tonight, which isn't the norm, but they were swinging it. You see these guys over there, they've got a lineup that will just absolutely kill you if you don't make good pitches and we saw that tonight. We didn't make good pitches and they kept scoring and scoring and scoring."
What a difference playing at home can make. The Tigers scored 12 runs in their most recent six-game road trip to Kansas City and Arizona. They scored 13 runs combined in just the fourth and fifth innings on Saturday. In their last five games, the Tigers have now scored an incredible 53 runs.
"We didn't give up at-bats," said Ramon Santiago, who reached base five times. "I think we fought every at-bat and then we scored a lot of runs."
Leading the charge was outfielder Magglio Ordonez in his best performance of the season. Saturday night was his 23rd career two-homer game and he tied a career high with six RBIs. He opened the scoring in the first with a two-run homer, gave the Tigers the lead for good with a two-run double in the third and broke the game open with his second two-run shot in the fifth that made it 12-3.
Ordonez, last season's American League batting champ, is now hitting .330 with nine homers and 35 RBIs.
"He's an outstanding hitter, and when he's zeroed in or locked in, he led the [American League] in hitting," Leyland said. "That pretty much says it all."
Second baseman Placido Polanco had four hits to inch his average closer to .300, while also scoring four runs. Gary Sheffield added two hits and three RBIs, while Matt Joyce and Santiago each added two RBIs. Joyce's two-run single pushed the lead to 17-3 in the fifth, to the delight of a crowd that chose to watch the Tigers, even with the Detroit Red Wings playing in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals and the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals.
The top of the star-studded Tigers lineup did most of the damage. Their top four hitters went a combined 11-for-20 with 12 runs and 11 RBIs.
"[Curtis Granderson] and Polanco, those guys up there set the table," Leyland said. "I think Sheff's swinging better, and Magglio had a big night. That's what we like to see. But really, we go when the top of our order goes."
Lost in the offensive fireworks was a solid outing by Tigers left-hander Nate Robinson, who earned his second win of the season. He allowed three runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings and benefited psychologically from the offense's production.
"It gave him a chance to relax, obviously, and pitch a little bit," Leyland said. "I think that's a good thing, because that's the same thing you have to do in tight games. You have to be able to concentrate, but you also have to be relaxed. I think concentration and relaxation are keys to a lot of guys that have success in this game."
Tigers hitters sure had both of those on Saturday night.
"It's one of those nights where everything you hit hard falls in, and you keep sending them up there," Leyland said. "There's nothing you can do about it, no matter which team you are. It's just one of those freak nights that happens on a rare occasion, but it won't happen very much."