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Twins 11, Tigers 4: Rick Porcello roughed up in loss, Miguel Cabrera homers again

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Rick Porcello's final outing of the regular season didn't go as planned. Despite 10 hits and a home run by Miguel Cabrera, the offense couldn't dig the bullpen out of a deep hole.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DETROIT — It was not the outing the Tigers were hoping for from Rick Porcello for his final start of the regular season. Porcello didn't make it out of the fourth inning, taking the loss in a 11–4 drubbing by the Twins. The offense fought back, cutting the deficit in half at one point in the game, but the bullpen handed it right back in the sixth inning.

Porcello (L, 15–13) got off to a bad start. After two pitches, the Twins had a 1–0 lead over the Tigers. At the conclusion of the first, they led 3–0 after Porcello gave up a two-run homer with two outs. Things didn't get any better as the game went on, Porcello allowing a second home run, a solo shot to Brian Dozier in the third inning.

"I don't think anybody takes a loss like this harder than me, especially the situation we're in," Porcello said. "I definitely feel responsible for this loss tonight. Obviously not happy about it, but sometimes you've gotta fail to succeed. I gotta learn from it and get better, hopefully get an opportunity in the postseason and redeem myself."

Pulled after 3 2/3 innings, Porcello's final outing ended with him having allowed six runs (four earned) and three walks (two intentional). He struck out six batters but his pitch placement was erratic and it put the Tigers in a deep hole early in the game.

"He was kind of a tale of two different pitchers at times," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I don't know that I could put my finger on (the inconsistency). The truth is when it was in the middle of the zone they hit the heck out of it."

The bullpen was split between catastrophic and lights-out. After trailing 6–0, the offense bounced back to cut the deficit in half, but Kyle Ryan and Jim Johnson handed it right back to the Twins and then some in the sixth inning, giving up four runs. Blaine Hardy wasn't charged with a run, but he gave up one hit that charged a run each to Ryan and Johnson. Phil Coke gave up the last run of the evening to put the nail in the coffin of a dismal evening on the mound.

Anibal Sanchez, and Al Alburquerque each pitched a scoreless inning, allowing just one hit each, Alburquerque finishing the ninth inning with a strikeout. As it was Sanchez's first appearance since being on the disabled list for six weeks, Ausmus wanted to be cautious with Sanchez's first outing.

"I've mentioned this the last couple days, I wanted his first inning to kinda be a stress-free inning," Ausmus said. "I didn't want him coming out of the bullpen for the first time in years having (for example) a tie game in the bottom of the ninth."

For his first time out on the mound in relief, Ausmus said Sanchez looked well, though he said he wasn't going to bring him back out for a second inning due to it being Sanchez's first appearance since the injury. Whether Sanchez will need a day of rest before pitching again isn't a decision Ausmus has made yet.

Miguel Cabrera hit his second home run in as many days, collecting three hits in all and finishing a triple shy of the natural cycle. Altogether, the Tigers struck out just twice and they had 10 hits, but the Twins outhit them with 15, scoring 11 times and it's hard to come back from a deficit that deep. Victor Martinez came about 10 feet short of tying the game in the fifth inning, but the battle resulted in a long, loud out to the right field corner.

"I hoped it was but I thought it got in on him a little bit, so I wasn't sold on it," Ausmus said. "I was just hoping it would carry right into the corner between the wall and foul pole but, came up a little short."

ROARS:

Miguel Cabrera: Broke up Anthony Swarzak's no-hitter with a laced one-out double to left field in the fourth inning. He also hit an RBI single in the fifth, cutting the Twins' lead in half. He then homered in the seventh, a no-doubter that flew to the same area as Thursday night's home run over the left field visiting bullpen.

Ian Kinsler: Hit an RBI single in the fifth inning, cutting into the Twins' lead. Defensively he was stellar, ranging to prevent several ground balls from reaching the outfield. He finished 1-for-5 for the day but his one hit drove in the run.

Anibal Sanchez: He may have pitched only one inning but it was his first time pitching after being on the disabled list for six weeks and Sanchez gave the Tigers a rare uneventful seventh inning to work with in the game. He gave up just one hit, a tough infield single that Cabrera nearly fielded.

Andrew Romine: Due to his defense and hot bat since August 6, Romine continues to get preference over his shortstop counterpart. Romine played another solid defensive game and finished 2-for-4 with two singles, reaching on an error in his first at-bat.

HISSES:

Rick Porcello: The Twins led 1-0 after two pitches. It didn't get any better as Porcello's short-lived final outing went on. He gave up two home runs, six hits, six runs (four earned), three walks (two intentionally) and a sacrifice bunt. Oddly enough, he also struck out six batters in that time.

Nick Castellanos: A throwing error in the fourth inning allowed Brian Dozier to reach first base and two runs to score. It put the Tigers in a 6-0 hole at the time. When the Tigers cut into the deficit, it would have been a 4-3 game rather than a 6-3 game in the fifth inning if Castellanos hadn't made the error.

The bullpen: Asked to preserve a deficit the Tigers' offense had cut in half, the bullpen collapsed on itself, coughing up four runs in the sixth. Kyle Ryan allowed three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched, striking out one and balking. Jim Johnson faced one batter, threw one pitch, and gave up a run. Blaine Hardy didn't allow a run but he gave up a hit in his one inning of work that allowed two runs and he walked a batter intentionally. To make things worse, coupled with Castellanos' error, had the bullpen not imploded, the game would have been tied going into the bottom of the ninth and the Tigers would have gone into extra innings without those two events.

NOTES::

The Royals won 3–1 over the White Sox, allowing them to clinch the playoff for the first time since 1985, the last time they also won the World Series. The win, coupled with the Tigers' loss, dropped Detroit's lead in the AL Central to a one-game lead with two games to play.

Ausmus challenged a call in the top of the eighth inning that Oswaldo Arcia was safe at first base on a throw to first by Hunter. After a 1:10 review, the ruling was overturned and Arcia was doubled off first base, ending the inning.

In the eighth inning head athletic trainer Kevin Rand and Ausmus paid a visit to catcher Alex Avila after he was hit on the left shoulder by a foul ball. It was a short visit and Avila was fine, suffering no lingering effects.

STREAKS AND STATS:

  • Torii Hunter extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fifth inning. He is batting .365 in that time.
  • Miguel Cabrera hit his 25th home run of the season in the seventh inning, and the 390th home run of his career, tying him with Graig Nettles for 58th in major league history. It is the fourth time this season he has hit a home run in back-to-back games, and the first since doing so September 6–7 against the Giants.
  • Miguel Cabrera is the sixth player in major league history to have more than one season of 25 home runs, 100 RBI, and 50 doubles. (Albert Pujols 3, Todd Helton, Edgar Martinez, Hank Greenberg, and Chuck Klein)
  • Cabrera is just the fourth player in MLB history with 11 straight seasons of 25or-more home runs and 100-or-more RBI, joining Alex Rodriguez, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig.
  • Andrew Romine's two singles gave him 11 multi-hit games in the season. He is hitting .441 since August 6.

WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs

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