Someone forgot to tell the Minnesota weather that it’s fall now, because it was a warm one in the Twin Cities going into tonight’s game. What wasn’t quite as hot was the Tigers' meager offense, and a lukewarm first inning from Casey Mize that let the Twins get an early upper hand on the game.
Let’s see how the evening shook out for both teams.
In the top of the first inning facing off against Michael Pineda, the Tigers managed but one lonely single off the bat of Robbie Grossman. Heading over to the Twins side of things we saw some really uneven pitching from Mize. First it was an Arraez single to lead things off, then Buxton reached on an infield single, and Polanco followed all that up with a three-run home run to put the Twins up by 3 nice and early. Donaldson then singled, meaning the first four batters of the night all had hits. Then next three, however, went down in order.
Onto the second and Jeimer Candelario got himself a leadoff single, then Harold Castro got a single of his own. But with two men on the Tigers were not able to capitalize. Onto the bottom of the inning and Mize really started to get settled in, allowing only a single to Arraez, and no runs scored.
The Tigers went down 1-2-3 to start the third, and Mize continued to deal on a pitching side of things, returning the favor and setting the Twins down in order.
In the fourth the Tigers were able to inflict a little damage of their own. Emphasis on little. Grossman singled to lead things off, then a Cabrera hit by pitch put two men aboard. Grossman advanced to third on a Candelario flyout, and then Hittin’ Harold brought him home on a two-out fielder’s choice, giving the Tigers their first run of the night. On the Twins side of things, Mize was back out for his final bow, and crossed the 150 innings pitched marker with a bonus batter, and got the Twins out 1-2-3. Not a bad night when it was all said and done, even though he was on the line for all three runs scored.
The Tigers were hungry for more runs, and fought to get anything they could in the fifth (which was, spoiler alert, nothing). Goodrum kicked it off with a double. Baddoo followed with a one-out single, but it was a shallow hit, not giving enough for Goodrum to score. Baddoo then successfully stole second to put two men in scoring position. Unfortunately, then next two batters were felled in order and no runs scored. But nothing happened for the Twins in the bottom of the inning either, so at least we were no worse off.
In the sixth Harold Castro managed a two-out single, then Haase singled to advance him. Sadly it was another TTBDNS scenario. The Twins mustered some spirit in the bottom of the inning. Polanco drew a walk, then Donaldson singled. The next three batters went down in order though.
Heading into the seventh, and Baddoo drew a one-out walk, then advanced to second on a Schoop groundout. No runners scored. Rooker was hit by a pitch, but Arraez grounded into a double play with one man already out, closing out the inning scoreless on both sides.
In the eighth, Harold Castro became the third hit-by-pitch of the night, and was the Tigers' only baserunner. Haase made a strong bid for a two-run homer but Byron Buxton said, “nahhh” and snatched it right before it hit the outfield green. Rude. Unintentional revenge was achieved in the bottom of the eighth when new reliever Jimenez plunked Buxton almost immediately. I’m assuming it was unintentional because it was Jimenez. Donaldson got a one-out walk, then Kepler singled to score Buxton and put the Twins up by another run. Sano then drew a walk on four pitches to load the bases. Gordon then hit a sac fly to score Donaldson, and I’m even more convinced that leadoff hit by pitch was wholly accidental. No additional runs scored but the damage was definitely done. Twins lead 5-1.
That brought about the top of the ninth with the last opportunity for the Tigers to get something going. Reliever Alex Colomé quickly got the first out, then hit Daz Cameron with the FIFTH HBP of the game. Baddoo then singled to put two men aboard with only one out. The Schoop extended his hitting streak to 10 with an RBI single to bring Cameron home. Another out, and it was all down to Miggy. It was not a comeback to be, however, and the game ended in the Twins' favor.
Final: Twins 5, Tigers 2