The week’s heroes: Yelich, Toro and Kurt Suzuki

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 3: Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (28) heads home after hitting a walk off 3 run game winning homer during the Washington Nationals defat of the New York Mets 11-10 in the bottom of the 9th inning at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC on September 3, 2019 . (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 3: Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (28) heads home after hitting a walk off 3 run game winning homer during the Washington Nationals defat of the New York Mets 11-10 in the bottom of the 9th inning at Nationals Stadium in Washington, DC on September 3, 2019 . (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

10 Max Kepler, 41 percent

Locked in a battle for the AL Central title, the Minnesota Twins need every victory they can get. They certainly can’t afford losses to weak sisters such as the Detroit Tigers.

That’s why Kepler’s delivery of Monday afternoon’s game in Detroit was critical. Stifled by the pitching of Tiger ace Jordan Zimmerman, the Twins trailed 3-2 through seven innings, a loss allowing the second place Cleveland Indians to draw within four and one-half games of the divisional leaders.

It has been only a so-so season for Kepler, who entered the game batting .258 and fanned in two of his first four plate appearances against Zimmerman.

By the seventh, however, Zimmerman was gone, having been lifted at the end of the sixth by Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire after throwing just 90 pitches. Rookie Gregory Soto took Zimmerman’s place to start the seventh, and Buck Farmer succeeded Soto in the eighth. That turned out to be the break the Twins and Kepler needed.

Farmer was in trouble from ‘go.’ He walked LaMonte Ward on a 3-1 pitch, then Luis Arreaz touched him for a line drive single. With the tying and lead runs on base, Farmer fanned C.J. Cron and Jake Cave, only to allow an infield hit to Ehire Adrianza that loaded the bases.

That set up the showdown with Kepler, who got 2-1 count leverage then lined a base hit to left field that sent Wade and Arreaz home.

When the Minnesota bullpen retired the Tigers in order in the eighth and ninth, Kepler’s hit gave Minnesota the hit the Twins needed to remain comfortably ahead of the Indians.