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Twins 5, Tigers 2: Daniel Norris was good, but not good enough

Norris was strong to start but got roughed up again, and a ninth inning rally fell short as the Twins clinched the series.

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Daniel Norris was strong in his first five innings but again ran into late inning trouble and the Detroit Tigers bats couldn’t create much off Jake Odorizzi as the Minnesota Twins secured a series win by defeating the Tigers, 5-2.

Odorizzi dominated the Tigers over the first six innings, giving up just walk and a bloop single while striking out six. The Tigers finally got to him in the bottom of the seventh when Mikie Mahtook hit a two-out, two-run triple to get the Tigers on the board and end Odorizzi’s night.

Norris was nearly as sharp over his first five innings, as he held the Twins scoreless through that point on two hits. He tallied five strikeouts but walked two. When the sixth inning and the heart of the Twins order came up a third time, Norris once again could not get out of the inning. A double and two singles ended his night and scored two runs.

In the top of the seventh, Sandy Baez came on and was roughed up. Chris Gimenez led off the inning with a home run, and a single, walk, and double over the next five batters would score another two runs for the Twins, breaking the game open.

The Tigers, as they have done often this season at home, made things interesting in the ninth inning against Twins closer Trevor Hildenberger. Victor Martinez hit a one-out single, and was replaced by the younger, faster Victor. With two outs and Victor Reyes on second, Mahtook drove him in with a single and brought the tying run to the plate, but Grayson Greiner would strike out to end the game.

Various tidbits

  • Ron Gardenhire mentioned before the game he felt Drew VerHagen could close games. He relieved Daniel Norris in the sixth with runners on the corners and one out, and got a strikeout and pop-up to end the inning.
  • Among qualified relievers for the Tigers in the second half of the season, VerHagen’s 2.30 ERA over 27 13 innings in 20 games leads all Tigers relievers. His peripheral numbers indicate that this is probably not a fluke, as he has 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings to just 1.9 walks per nine with a 43 percent ground ball rate. He has definitely turned around his season, and maybe saved his Tigers career.
  • Jeimer Candelario was removed from the game heading into the ninth inning due to a lumbar spine spasm. I don’t know exactly what that is, but it sounds unpleasant. Here’s to more lumbar support in your chairs, Jeimer.