It was easy to discern those facts on Monday at Target Field.
The Twins scored in bunches early in the game and got six-plus quality innings from starter Tyler Duffey in a 7-1 romp over the slumping Tigers.
Each team had equal opportunities to get on the board in the first inning, as both loaded the bases with just one out.
While the Tigers showed their stripes, the Twins jumped on Detroit left-hander Kyle Lobstein with four quick runs and never looked back.
After Victor Martinez's 4-6-3 double play ended the Detroit threat in the top of the inning, Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe ripped a double off the right-field wall with the same circumstances, giving Minnesota a 2-0 advantage.
"Against (Lobstein), our approach was to stay short and take what he gave us," Plouffe said. "He's a guy that relies on hitters to get big against him. He tries to get you to expand the zone. Right there, (Twins hitting coach Tom Brunansky) and I always talk about just getting one in. I thought that's what I did but it just kept carrying out there."
Minnesota knocked Lobstein from the game in the second, getting a walk from second baseman Brian Dozier and a single from first baseman Joe Mauer ahead of designated hitter Miguel Sano, who cracked a sharp single just past Lobstein to make it 5-0.
That hit ended the lefty's night after just 1 1/3 innings. An RBI single later in the inning was also charged to Lobstein, who gave up six runs on seven hits and a pair of walks while striking out two.
Lobstein has now allowed 17 earned runs over his last three starts spanning 11 1/3 innings.
"I feel healthy right now but the results just aren't there," Lobstein said. "It's just frustrating. I'm going back to the drawing board right now, trying to figure this thing out."
Duffey, meanwhile, found his groove after a rocky first.
The rookie right-hander, making just his seventh start in the big leagues, retired the next eight hitters until a harmless single in the fourth.
"I had a couple of extra days just because of where my innings are at right now," Duffey said. "It was kind of hit and miss in the bullpen (before the game) and the first inning I got through it. I got settled in after that and felt pretty good."
Two Tigers reached scoring position against Duffey in the fifth with one out, but he fanned center fielder Anthony Gose and got second baseman Ian Kinsler to ground out to second, ending the threat.
Duffey improved to 3-1 by allowing just one run on a sacrifice ground out in the seventh inning, walking two (none after the first inning) and striking out seven.
"That first inning was huge, both sides," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Getting that double play and getting off the field, it picks your team up."
Hunter had a pair of hits and an RBI for the Twins and Mauer had three hits. His double in the first inning extended his streak of reaching base safely to 34 consecutive games.
Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez had two hits and now has multi-hit efforts in three straight. Shortstop Andrew Romine was credited with Detroit's lone RBI.
"It's like taking a punch to the gut early," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "You hope something sparks you. We had some good at-bats, we had some hits but didn't capitalize by scoring runs.
"But it knocks you on your heels when you get down that early that quickly."
Twins shortstop Eduardo Escobar hit a solo homer in the fourth inning, his 11th.
Minnesota, which began the night one game behind the Texas Rangers for the second wild-card spot in the American League, remained one game back after Texas' 5-3 win over the Houston Astros. The Twins are 1 1/2 games behind Houston, who leads Texas by one-half game for first place in the American League West standings.
NOTES: Tigers INF Andrew Romine got the start at shortstop on Monday in place of Dixon Machado, who has a sore left hamstring. ... Tigers OF Steven Moya started in left field after going 2-for-3 with a triple and a walk in his first start of the season on Sunday. ... Twins LHP Glen Perkins threw a bullpen session on Monday as he attempts to return from a sore back. Perkins received his second cortisone shot last week and said he is aiming for a return to the lineup by the end of the week. ... Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco also threw a bullpen session as he continues to rehab from ankle surgery. Nolasco hasn't pitched since May 31 and is likely to miss the rest of the rest of the regular season. ... The Tigers and Twins will play the second game of their three-game series at Target Field on Tuesday evening. Detroit RHP Alfredo Simon (12-9, 4.94 ERA) will oppose Minnesota RHP Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.49 ERA).