It was a weird evening in Detroit, but the breaks (both bad, strange, and funny) bounced to Minnesota in the end. The Twins knocked off the Tigers for their third straight win and secured a series victory against the Motor City Kitties.
Before the first pitch was even thrown, the game said “Let’s get weird.”
Brian Dozier led off the game by gently popping a bunt down the third base line, where Jeimer Candelario picked it up and threw it into right field. Dozier circled the bases for a leadoff Little League home run. This would be a tone-setter, but not in a “Twins stomp over the inept Tigers” sort of way. More a “this is going to be a peculiar ballgame” sort of way.
(It would later become a “Twins stomp over the inept Tigers” sort of tone.)
The Tigers kicked off their half of the 1st with four straight hits, quickly reclaiming a 2-1 lead. In the second, despite having singled in the 1st, Miguel Cabrera was removed with lower back tightness. Two batters into the 2nd, Max Kepler was pulled with a hip injury.
Then the game settled down for a while. The 2nd through 5th innings saw few hits and no runs, as both Tiger starter Matthew Boyd and Twins ace Ervin Santana traded zeroes on the scoreboard. In the 6th, however, Efren Navarro (the aforementioned defensive replacement for Miggy) hit a solo shot to make it a 3-1 Detroit lead.
The Twins drew closer in the 7th. Ehire Adrianza doubled with one out, and Robbie Grossman was able to single him in immediately after. The Tigers would have to dip into their bullpen to retire the side, and a perfect post-stretch 7th for Santana made it 3-2 Tigers heading into the 8th.
Then the game said, “Let’s get weird again.”
Alex Wilson entered for Detroit and Joe Mauer immediately broke his leg.
Mauer got on by lining a pitch off the pitcher -- an uncharacteristically aggressive approach for ol’ Joe. With the trainers surrounding him, Wilson threw a test pitch and collapsed onto the grass. This brought in Daniel Stumpf, who gave up three straight key base hits. Jorge Polanco singled to put men on first and second, and Eddie Rosario tied the game with a base hit into left field. Eduardo Escobar hit a little duck snort into right, and the Twins took a 4-3 lead.
Next up for the Tigers: Joe Jimenez. Jimenez went 2-0 on Byron Buxton, then hit him with his third offering to load ‘em up. After Adrianza recorded the first out of the inning on a line shot right into Jimenez’s glove, Robbie Grossman corked a two-run single to center to make it 6-3 Twins.
Jason Castro hit a double-play-style grounder to second, but Ian Kinsler couldn’t field it cleanly. They still got Castro at first, but the play allowed Buxton to score to make it 7-3. After a passed ball and a walk to Brian Dozier, a presumably gassed Brad Ausmus walked out to the mound again and slotted in Blaine Hardy as the next pitcher.
Hardy served up Zack Granite’s first career dinger, a three-run shot that barely cleared the wall in right, and it was 10-3 Twins. Granite had pinch-run for Mauer at the beginning of the inning. Having entered the 8th down a run, Minnesota hung up an eight-spot on the Tigers, turning the contest into a much less stressful affair.
Also in the inning, Candelario banged into the dugout railing attempting to retrieve a foul ball on the third-base side. He stayed in the game, but was replaced by Dixon Machado an inning later.
Alan Busenitz put together a scoreless bottom of the 8th. Gabriel Moya pitched the 9th, allowing Navarro’s second dinger of the night, but ultimately finishing out the game.
With the victory, the Twins lower their magic number to FIVE with seven games left to play. If the Texas Rangers lose to the Oakland Athletics later this evening, the Twins’ magic number will drop to four.
The offense (only Garver and Castro came to the plate and failed to reach)
SP Ervin Santana (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
NO DUDS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!
Robot Roll Call:
|8||less cowbell, more 'neau||25|
|15||Can't Read Good||6|