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Twins 5, Tigers 4 (10 innings): A leaky bullpen blows it

The Tigers lost an extra-inning affair in Minnesota by giving up a pair of runs in the tenth.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A tight, back-and-forth game in Minnesota saw the Tigers blow a lead in extra innings, with the Twins coming back to win it, 5-4 in ten.

Homer Bailey — whose real first name is, curiously enough, not Homer — had a fastball that, most of the time, would barely get a speeding ticket on I-75. Bailey spent a dozen years with the Reds, before a solid year with the Royals and A’s last year. This year he spent a long time on the IL; he made a start against the Cardinals on July 28, and... well, that was it before today. However, in his previous few starts against the Tigers, he went 26 innings, only giving up seven hits and six runs. Yikes.

Skubal had the misfortune of first facing a sizzling-hot Byron Buxton, who sent the a second pitch hanging changeup over the right-field fence. He then quieted things down and had a mostly-uneventful next few innings, with nice command on all four of his pitches, inducing all six of his strikeouts coming via the swing-and-miss.

However, the classic “crafty veteran” that always seems to stymie Tigers’ lineups was in full effect early tonight, as the first nine Detroiters went down in order, nary a baserunner among them. Advantage, Bailey.

Someone woke up the Tigers’ hitters in the fourth, with Victor Reyes getting plunked and Willi Castro sneaking a single to centre, advancing Reyes to third. Miguel Cabrera followed with a single to score Reyes and advance Castro to third.

Jeimer Candelario then worked a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with none out. Bailey was replaced by Cody Stashak, who got Brandon Dixon to promptly ground into the ol’ 6-2-5 double play. (It was Cabrera on second, remember.) A deep Niko Goodrum flyout extinguished the threat, because we can’t have nice things, I guess.

Mitch Garver led off the fourth by turning a fastball around with authority, off the facing of the third deck in left, putting the Twins up 2-1. A single and a walk followed, and Skubal began to falter. He then hit Ehire Adrianza, and Skubal hit the showers. Jose Cisnero, whose last three outings have been quite delightful, was brought into a bases loaded, two out situation, with the sizzling-hot Buxton up. Cisnero’s third pitch was a perfectly-painted 97 mph on the black, strike three looking. Grab some bench, Byron.

Cisnero lasted an inning and kept the Twins off the scoresheet; Daniel Norris came on in relief of Cisnero with two outs in the fifth and got a grounder from Max Kepler to end a two-on, two-out threat.

In the sixth, Trevor May came on for Stashak and got himself into a bit of trouble: Willi Castro, Candelario and Niko Goodrum walked (with a pair of pop-outs thrown in there), to bring a bases-loaded, 2-out situation up for the new pitcher, Tyler Duffey, who hadn’t fared well against the Tigers this year so far. Austin Romine hit a hard comebacker to Duffey that he bobbled, and Duffey’s throw to Miguel Sano at first popped out of the mitt to tie the score at 2.

Somehow that’s an error on Sano, not Duffey. Weird.

Daz Cameron hit his second double of the night leading off the seventh. Cameron aggressively took off on a Reyes grounder to short, daring Adrianza to throw to third, but instead the throw went to first and Cameron ended up 27.4 m (90 ft) from scoring. Willi Castro then singled to right to score Cameron and put the Tigers up 3-2.

I really liked this gamble by Cameron. If he’d gotten thrown out, well, he’d have committed the cardinal sin of making the first out of an inning at third base. But he rolled the dice and came up a winner, and that ended up scoring the go-ahead run at the time. Also worth mentioning: Cameron stung the ball four times tonight. You gotta like that.

Joe Jimenez, who’s looked like a new man lately, came on for the bottom of the seventh. Jimenez’s old buddy Miguel Sano juuuuuuust missed a fastball for a flyout to the left-field warning track to end the seventh. Poor Sano; couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

Buck Farmer came on for the eighth, and Kepler dug a changeup out of the bottom of the zone to park it in the flowerpots and tie the game at 3.

Gregory Soto was brought in for the bottom of the ninth and walked Adrianza to lead off the inning. Isaac Paredes dove to cut off a one-hopper from Buxton, got up and got enough on the throw to force Adrianza at second. Josh Donaldson then grounded into a double play to send the game to extras. And I know this is a FSD-Twitter-embedding-heavy recap, but I really can’t resist including a reference to the late Phil Hartman’s impression of a drunk Ed McMahon here.

Reyes started the tenth on second, with Taylor Rogers replacing Romo. With one out, Cabrera drilled a line drive to right, but Reyes didn’t read the ball right off the bat and had to stop at third. No matter, though: Candelario snapped a 0-for-16 streak with a single to left to plate Reyes and put the Tigers up 4-3.

Jake Cave pinch-ran for Donaldson as the ghost runner on second to start the bottom of the tenth. Bryan Garcia promptly gave up a single to Eddie Rosario to score Cave and re-tie the game. Rosario stole second on a Garver strikeout, and that steal would prove to be fatal: Kepler blooped a single to right which allowed Rosario to come around and score.

It’s Not the Tigers, but it’s Worth Seeing Anyway

Nice throw, great tag, delightful camera angle.

Kudos, Kevin Kiermaier.

Miscellaneous Mentions

  • Coming into tonight’s game, Byron Buxton’s OPS in his previous 15 games 1.153. Obviously his first-inning home run raised that.
  • Before tonight’s game, the Twins had hit 27 home runs in their past dozen games. Like Frampton (and Franklin), the Twins’ offence has come alive.
  • Including tonight, Jose Cisnero has inherited 17 baserunners, and stranded 16 of them.
  • This marked the third time in his seven starts that Tarik Skubal has given up a leadoff home run.
  • Happy birthday to Tommy Lasorda, the colourful longtime manager of the Dodgers. Also, happy birthday to my dad.