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Twins 4, Tigers 3: Ninth inning comeback comes up short

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Niko Goodrum’s late inning heroics not enough to boost Tigers over Twins.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

After an inspired performance on Friday night, the Tigers were mostly lifeless until the ninth inning for the annual Fiesta Tigres celebration. With Francisco Liriano trying to pitch the team to its second straight win against the Minnesota Twins, Kyle Gibson threw seven innings of one-run ball to stifle the offense. The Tigers made it interesting in the ninth, but weren’t able to finish the fight and fell 4-3.

The Tigers struck first in the second inning with two outs when Jim Adduci hit his first triple of the season. James McCann followed with a shift-beating ground ball single to right field to plate the run. Liriano, however, gave the run right back in the top half of the third by walking Eddie Rosario, allowing a single to Logan Forsythe, and then throwing a wild pitch that scored Rosario. It was a very, very Liriano-like sequence.

Liriano got into trouble in the fourth with walks, but was able to escape without any damage. In the fifth, he actually decided to throw more strikes, but then the Twins decided to get more hits, so maybe Liriano was on to something with all the command issues. With one out in the inning, Miguel Sano hit a first-pitch single, and then Tyler Austin, in his first game with the Twins, hit a monster shot to left field to put them up 3-1. The offense of the Tigers followed with a crisp one-two-three inning.

Zach McAllister made his much-anticipated Tigers debut in the sixth inning, taking over for Liriano who allowed three runs on six hits, four walks, and three strikeouts. McAllister got the first two outs rather easily, but then allowed an infield single to Joe Mauer (it should’ve been an error on Niko Goodrum at second), before Eddie Rosario’s RBI double to put the Twins up 4-1. The offense of the Tigers again responded with a one-two-three inning.

Since the trade of Fernando Rodney, the Twins roster didn’t have a single pitcher on its roster with a major league save. Trevor Hildenberger was the man that manager Paul Molitor summoned out of the pen, and the Tigers took advantage of his lack of experience. Victor Martinez led off the inning with a walk, and then Goodrum launched his 12th homer of the year to pull the score to 4-3. With the crowd roaring, Adduci singled for his third hit of the game to keep the pressure on. After a mound visit, however, Hildenberger sat down the remaining Tigers in order to finish the game and record his first save.