Fulmer Wins MLB Debut, Tigers top Twins 9-2

If Michael Fulmer was nervous, he didn't show it.

Fulmer allowed two earned runs in five innings to win his major league debut Friday night and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 9-2.

Victor Martinez homered among his four hits, and Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos also went deep for the Tigers, who had a season-high 18 hits.

"I just kept telling myself, 'Get the first batter of the game out.' Once that happened, I kind of settled in," Fulmer said. "I just tried to keep the emotions in check and felt I did a pretty good job of that. All these guys just told me to breathe and relax, and everything worked out very well."

Considered Detroit's top pitching prospect, he allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out four.

Detroit got the 23-year-old righty last summer in the trade that sent slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets. Last season's Eastern League Player of the Year, Fulmer was 1-1 with a 4.11 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings of Triple-A action before his Friday call-up.

Consistently reaching the mid-90s with his fastball and coupling it with a sharp slider, Fulmer (1-0) struck out three of the first six Minnesota hitters.

"He's not just a flamethrower. He knows how to pitch, how to command his pitches. That made it a lot easier," catcher Bobby Wilson said.

Fulmer was cruising until three straight two-out singles in the fourth inning resulted in one Minnesota run. An RBI double by Miguel Sano pulled the Twins within 4-2 in the fifth.

"He got a little tired at the end," manager Brad Ausmus said. "But he did his job; he did exactly what we wanted him to do."

Detroit scored five unanswered runs down the stretch, including solo home runs by Martinez and Castellanos in the eighth.

"It was not a good game for us in any phase," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said.

For the second straight start, Phil Hughes (1-4) struggled to get the first three outs for Minnesota.

J.D. Martinez had an RBI double in the first inning as Detroit took a 3-0 lead. Hughes allowed two first-inning runs last Saturday in a 2-0 loss at Washington.

Hughes lasted a season-low five innings, allowing seven hits and four earned runs.

The last of those runs came off the bat Cabrera. A career .439 hitter against Hughes, the slugging Tiger homered in the fifth to make it 4-1. It was Cabrera's sixth career home run off the Minnesota right-hander, his most off any pitcher.

"I had a pretty good pitch down and away, but he can cover the entire strike zone," Hughes said. "He does that a lot."


Victor Martinez has collected multi-hit efforts in four of his last six games, and has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games. Over that stretch, Martinez is batting .353 (18 for 51) with eight runs scored, six doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI.


LHP Tommy Milone has been sent to the Minnesota bullpen after going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts.

Ricky Nolasco is scheduled to start Sunday, followed by Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer Monday and Tuesday in Houston. Meyer, who had yet to appear in a game since his April 25 recall from Triple-A Rochester, allowed two runs on five hits in one inning of relief Friday.


Tigers: OF Cameron Maybin (left wrist fracture) was to serve as designated hitter at Triple-A Toledo Friday as he continues his rehabilitation. ... C James McCann was to catch nine innings at Toledo Friday as he works his way back from a right-ankle sprain. Manager Brad Ausmus wouldn't rule out McCann returning to the Tigers this weekend.

Twins: RHP Ervin Santana on the 15-day DL since April 20 with a lower back strain is scheduled to have a light throwing session Saturday. ... Manager Paul Molitor indicated that RHP Kyle Gibson, on the DL since April 23 with a right shoulder strain, probably won't come off when he's eligible, but was optimistic Gibson wouldn't miss much more time than that.


Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (4-0, 0.35 ERA) starts Saturday in the middle game of the three-game series. He has allowed just one earned run in his four starts, including 24 1/3 scoreless innings to begin the year.

Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey (0-0, 2.25) pitched four innings last Sunday in Washington before exiting the game after getting hit on his throwing shoulder by a line drive.