Like many of our friends throughout the SB Nation network, we are simulating the 2020 MLB season with MLB The Show 20. While we are unable to stream the games as they would otherwise be happening, we will try to get ahead of the curve and post about the games on the same day they would have taken place. Or, you know, at least get them back on schedule. Now, onto the recap!
Matthew Boyd took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and the simulated Detroit Tigers offense came through late to claim a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday evening. Boyd worked eight innings in total, and allowed just one unearned run for his fourth win of the season.
The Tigers took a different approach from their past two games, and jumped out to an early lead. Victor Reyes walked on just four pitches to lead off the bottom of the first, and Jeimer Candelario hit a hanging breaking ball over the right field wall for a two-run home run. The blast was Candelario’s ninth of the season, trailing only C.J. Cron for the team lead.
While things looked promising early, that’s all the Tigers offense would manage for a while. Twins starter Jose Berrios settled in after that, and kept the Tigers scoreless for the remainder of his outing. Detroit’s hitters were able to drive Berrios’ pitch count up early on, but he settled down and worked seven strong innings in all, striking out eight while allowing just the two runs on four hits.
Fortunately for Detroit, Boyd was more than equal to the task. He walked Nelson Cruz in the top of the second, but did not allow a hit until Max Kepler lined a one-out triple into the left field gap in the top of the sixth inning. With the score still 2-0, Boyd calmly retired the next two hitters to end the threat.
The Twins broke through against Boyd in the top of the seventh, but not without a bit of help. With two outs in the inning, Cruz hit a long fly ball to left. Christin Stewart appeared to be tracking the ball for the final out of the frame, but could not make the play in the end, and Cruz made it to second base. Boyd then fooled Mitch Garver with a nasty back-foot slider, but the check swing roller somehow eluded Detroit’s infield, scoring Cruz to make the score 2-1.
But before the Twins could get a crack at Detroit’s leaky bullpen, the Tigers offense put the game away. Clint Frazier drew a walk to open the inning, but was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Victor Reyes. Candelario then singled to put two aboard with one out. Miguel Cabrera followed with what should have been an RBI single to center, but Reyes got a late read and was thrown out at the plate by Byron Buxton.
Fortunately, the gaffe would not come back to bite the Tigers, as C.J. Cron launched a towering three-run homer to left to make the score 5-1, effectively ending the contest. Joe Jimenez, no longer working in a save situation, worked a quick 1-2-3 ninth anyway to close out the game.