The Tigers arrived in the Twin cities hoping to put a halt to their three-game losing streak and a four-game string of losses in Minnesota. Detroit sent rookie Matt Manning to the mound to face the veteran Michael Pineda.
Akil Baddoo led off the game for the Tigers with a double into the left-center field gap that hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double. Pineda then struck out Jonathan Schoop, Miguel Cabrera, and Jeimer Candelario in order to retire the side. Manning answered by setting down the Twins in order in the bottom of the frame.
After Haase struck out to start the second inning, Harold Castro (yeah, batting fifth) grounded out. Willi Castro then smashed a long single off the wall in right field that was played perfectly by Max Kepler to hold him at first base. Victor Reyes singled, but Willi got a bit too ambitious trying to reach third on the play and was thrown out at third to end the inning.
The Twins got on the board in the second inning on a single by Josh Donaldson and a double by Mitch Garver to put the Twins up, 1- 0. Manning got the next three batters to hold the score there.
Pineda set the Tigers down in order in the top half of the third inning and Manning worked around a two-out hit by pitch to retire the Twins in the bottom of the third.
After the Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the fourth frame, Garver hit his second double of the game, this one a line drive into the left field corner with one out. Manning struck out Trevor Larnach and Miguel Sano singled down the left field line to score Garver, making it 2- 0. Sano tried to steal second but was thrown out by Haase to end the inning.
Harold Castro and Willi Castro both struck out in the top of the fifth inning, and Reyes flew out to the warning track in left field to make it nine straight Tigers retired by Pineda.
Manning set down the Twins in order in the bottom of the fifth inning. With his pitch count at 66, he was throwing a steady diet of off-speed pitches, (check out Brandon’s article about Matt’s new repertoire here) rarely throwing more than one four-seam fastball to any hitter. This was obviously by design, as Twins hitters had seen Tigers pitching seven times in the last 14 games. Expect the Tigers to continue to give them different looks the rest of this series.
After Derek Hill and Baddoo both flied out to center field, Schoop grounded a 3- 1 pitch up the middle to snap the string of Tigers retired at 11 and extending his hitting streak to 16 games, which leads the majors. Miguel Cabrera followed with his 495th career home run, a shot to right-center field, to tie the game at 2-2 and changing the narrative of this game.
Brent Rooker untied the game with a 460-foot homer on a hanging curveball to make it 3- 2 Twins. Manning walked Polanco and his day was done as AJ Hinch signaled for Jose Cisnero. Donaldson greeted him with a two-run homer to left-center field to put the Twins up 5- 2, the fourth run being charged to Manning. Cisnero retired the next two Twins, then walked Sano. Jake Cave singled up the middle. and Sano tried to take third on the play but was gunned down by Derek Hill to end the inning. The damage was done with the Twins holding a three-run lead.
Manning’s final line 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, ERA now 6.00 for the season.
Pineda’s final line 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, ERA 3.86.
Tyler Duffy came on in relief of Pineda and was greeted by Haase with a blast into the upper deck in left field, his 16h of the season, to cut the lead to 5- 3. Harold, Willi and Reyes then grounded out in succession to end the inning.
Buck Farmer took the mound for the Tigers in the bottom of the 7th inning. Andrelton Simmons singled into the gap in right field but the ball was cut off by Reyes to hold him at first. Kepler and Rooker grounded out, then Polanco grounded into the shift and was called out but replays show he was safe. Runners and first and second with two outs. Hinch signaled for Joe Jimenez with Donaldson due up.
Farmer’s numbers for the season are too gaudy for this family article, but since June 17, over his last 16 appearances, he has pitched 16 innings allowing 4 ER, one HR, with 20 K’s and 5 BB’s for an ERA of 2.35 and a K/9 ratio of 11.79. Not bad.
The first pitch from Jimenez was in the dirt and bounced away from Haase, allowing Simmons to take third. A second wild pitch bounced hard off the stone wall behind the plate right back to Haase, holding Simmons at third but Polanco took second. Donaldson then grounded out to third to end the inning, still 5- 3 Twins.
Hansel Robles came on in relief for the Twins in the 8th inning. Derek Hill flied out to left, Baddoo grounded out to second, and Schoop walked to bring the tying run to the plate in the person of Miguel Cabrera. Miggy grounded out short to second to end the threat.
Jimenez returned to the mound for Detroit in the eighth and hit Garver to put the lead man on base. After Laranch struck out, Garver was thrown out by Haase trying to steal. Sano followed with a double past the diving Derek Hill in center field for a double. A third wild pitch moved Sano up to third. Simmons flew out to end the threat.
Since we’re Porcellitizing stats for Farmer, let’s give Joe some love as well. Jimenez hasn’t allowed an earned run since the All-Star break in five appearances. In his previous four games, he had given up seven runs, six of those in Minnesota before the break. That ruined a string of five scoreless appearances.
Taylor Rogers came on for the save in the ninth inning for Minnesota, but was taken out after letting a pitch fly way off target to the backstop with the count full against Candelario. He would be diagnosed with a sprained finger. Alex Colome came in for Rogers and gave up a single to Jeimer, bringing up Haase with the tying run. He struck out- one on and one out. Robbie Grossman pinch hit for Harold Castro and drilled the first pitch into the right field seats to tie the game at 5- 5.
With All-Star Gregory Soto warming in the bullpen, Willi Castro hit a comebacker to the mound for the second out. Victor Reyes flew out to the edge of the track in left field for the third out.
Soto took the mound for Detroit in the ninth with Grossman in right field and Zach Short in for Castro at shortstop. After Kepler lined out to left, Rooker walked and Gilberto Celestino pinch ran for him. Soto struck out Polanco to bring up Donaldson. He walked to put two on with two outs and Garver coming up. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Garver walked to load the bases and Willins Astudillo came in pinch hitting for Nick Gordon, who had replaced Laranch. Soto struck out Astudillo on three pitches, finishing him off with a 100 mph heater to leave the bases loaded.
Caleb Thielbar came in for the Twins in the 10th frame, with Derek Hill at the plate and Zach Short as the ghost runner at second base. Shep and Morris couldn’t stop talking about bunting.
Hill lined out to Donaldson at third as Short scampered back to second. Baddoo flied out to center field for the second out. Schoop took a strike on the inside corner for the third out, stranding Short on second base.
Soto came back out for the 10th inning and struck out Sano. Maeda-who is scheduled to start tomorrow- was on second as the ghost runner. Cave flew out to Baddoo in left for the second out. Simmons walked on Soto’s 40th pitch with the lefty hitting Kepler due up. Kepler laced a single into right field scoring Maeda to give the Twins a 6- 5 victory.
It’s worth noting that there were some pitches that looked like strikes on the TV screen but Soto didn’t get the calls. The loss was just Soto’s second of the season and his first since April 18.
The loss is the Tigers’ fourth straight after winning seven in a row. The two teams will square off again tomorrow with the Tigers sending Tyler Alexander to the mound against Kenta Maeda for the Twins.