A combined five homers accounted for most of the runs tonight, but it was Detroit’s ability to produce with the ball in the ballpark that led them to a 7-5 win on Friday night, their first of the four-game series.
The blurry man you see behind the plate started the game off right with his second homer in as many swings. Joe Mauer corked the first leadoff shot of a long career into the bullpen, putting the Twins on top 1-0.
In the next inning, Tyler Austin added an opposite-field jack of his own, powering his 11th homer of the campaign into right-center field, and giving Minnesota starter Kohl Stewart a little bit of breathing room.
Unfortunately, Stewart didn’t breathe too much.
The Tigers had men on the corners in the first and a guy on in the second before finally breaking loose in the third. A wild inning saw Stewart walk a pair of Tigers to load the bases, then drill Mikie Mahtook to force in a run.
Following a mound visit, Stewart gave up a two-run double to Ronny Rodriguez, which would prematurely end his night and force the Twins to go to their pen before the conclusion of the third inning.
Miguel Sano would pick Kohl up with a solo homer in the bottom half. Count it — three innings, three solo shots for the Twins, and a tie game.
But the Tigers would wise up to Paul Molitor’s clever “hit dingers” strategy, and the aforementioned Mahtook broke the game open a bit with a three-run homer in the fifth inning — just his second of the season.
The Twins had opportunities tonight. Aside from the home runs, Ryan Carpenter was decent, but Minnesota had multiple chances to capitalize on parts of the Tiger relief corps. In the seventh, Logan Forsythe struck out to leave two men on.
In the eighth (after a Jorge Polanco error made it 7-4 Detroit), Mitch Garver hammered a whammy to make it a two-run ballgame, and after a tenacious back-and-forth at-bat, Mauer lined out sharply to center while representing the tying run. (Eddie Rosario would do the same, except to left field, and it only took two pitches.)
Recent addition Oliver Drake pitched a clean ninth, but Detroit closer Shane Greene did the same, and the Tigers walked away with their first victory of the weekend.
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Carpenter (1-1)
Losing Pitcher: Tyler Duffey (1-2)
Save: Shane Greene (26)
1B Joe Mauer (3-for-5, R, RBI, HR)
3B Miguel Sano (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, HR)
DH Tyler Austin (3-for-4, R, RBI, HR)
SP Kohl Stewart (2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K)
RP Tyler Duffey (2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 K)
2B Logan Forsythe (0-for-5, K, 6 LOB)
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