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Twins 6, Tigers 2: Michael Fulmer struggles as Detroit’s skid continues

The Tigers have lost five of six after a rough weekend in Minnesota.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers’ recent skid continued on Monday, as they lost a 6-2 decision against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Michael Fulmer had a rough outing, giving up four runs in a third inning he did not finish. Oddly, despite his 8.24 ERA, it was only his first loss of the 2020 season.

Fulmer looked strong early, retiring seven of the first eight hitters he faced. Unfortunately, those were the only outs he recorded. Minnesota’s No. 9 hitter, catcher Ryan Jeffers, took Fulmer deep on a monster home run to center field with one out in the third, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead. The top of the Twins lineup followed with a double, walk, and single to load the bases, which ended Fulmer’s afternoon. Daniel Norris came on in relief, and surrendered a bases clearing double to Eddie Rosario. Though the play itself was rather unlucky — Rosario’s double was a routine grounder that glanced off the first base bag and skidded into the corner — the Tigers caught a break when Rosario was thrown out at third base. Norris then retired Marwin Gonzalez to end the inning.

The Tigers still had plenty of time to mount a comeback — they scored a run in the top of the fourth to answer Minnesota’s big inning — but they could not get much going against Twins starter Michael Pineda. The big righthander gave up just three hits and two walks across seven innings of work while striking out eight. By the time Pineda departed, the Twins had added another run, giving their bullpen a 5-2 lead that stood up for the victory.

There were few bright spots on the day for Detroit, but the positives are worth pointing out.

  • Jeimer Candelario had a strong day at the plate, with two doubles and a walk. He scored both Tigers runs, and improved his season-long line to .313/.371/.519.
  • Willi Castro had the Tigers’ other hit, an RBI single that scored Candelario in the fourth. He also drew a walk in the seventh inning.
  • Joe Jimenez bounced back from his weird feud with Miguel Sano to work a scoreless inning in relief. He gave up a single and a stolen base, but struck out two Twins hitters.

Despite the loss, the Tigers are still in the thick of the American League playoff race. They are just two games behind the New York Yankees, who have lost four in a row, and seven of their last 10 games.