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!
Jonathan Schoop lined the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth inning over the right field wall for a walk-off home run, giving the simulated Detroit Tigers a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. The Tigers hit three solo homers to account for their three runs, and moved back to .500 before heading out on a west coast road trip.
It took a few batters for Spencer Turnbull to settle into this game. Byron Buxton lined the second pitch of the game into right field for a single, and Jorge Polanco followed with a double that put two runners on with no outs. Luis Arraez then plated Buxton on a sacrifice fly to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Turnbull found his groove after that, however, and left Polanco stranded in scoring position.
The Tigers offense didn’t start out quite so hot, going down in order in the first, but they made hard contact against Twins starter Rich Hill for most of the afternoon. C.J. Cron led off the bottom of the second with a solo home run, his third of the series and 13th of the season. But, after two singles and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position, Dawel Lugo struck out to end the threat.
The hard contact against Hill continued after that. Niko Goodrum hit a hanging breaking ball over the left field wall for a solo home run to lead off the third inning, and Cameron Maybin followed with a bloop single. Maybin would end up stranded, however, as the Tigers ran into some bad batted ball luck. Miguel Cabrera’s line drive was snared on a sliding catch by Nelson Cruz — one I don’t think he has much of a chance of making in real life, to be honest — and Cron’s sharp grounder was just in the reach of a Twins infielder to turn a double play.
Turnbull gave up a solo home run to lead off the fourth, but was otherwise in control for most of the afternoon. He only gave up four hits after the first inning (six in total), and struck out nine without walking a batter. He retired Miguel Sano to lead off the top of the seventh inning, and was replaced by Gregory Soto with a couple of dangerous left-handed batters coming up. Soto gave up a bloop single to Max Kepler, but retired the next two batters (and two to lead off the eighth) without any trouble.
Meanwhile, the Tigers offense couldn’t quite come through with runners on base. Goodrum doubled and was left stranded in the fifth, and Cabrera’s double chased Hill to the showers in the top of the sixth. But Cron and Schoop hit sharp grounders directly at Minnesota defenders, and Clint Frazier’s screaming line drive was directed right at left fielder Eddie Rosario, ending the inning.
Despite the tie score, there wasn’t much drama to be found after that. Twins reliever Homer Bailey kept the Tigers in check for the next couple innings, and Detroit was able to mix their relievers well enough to keep the Twins off the scoreboard. Tyler Alexander was the only one to face much of a threat with a runner on base, but he retired Max Kepler and pinch hitter Mitch Garver to end the top of the ninth, setting up Schoop for his game-winning homer in the bottom of the frame.
The simulated Tigers are headed out west! They will kick off a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners on Friday, followed by a short two-game set with the San Francisco Giants next week. After that, they will head home for a couple series before closing out the month with another west coast swing.