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Tigers 9, Twins 6: Pitching struggles, Sano & Cave both go double-dinger

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If calendar changes mean anything, José Berríos will be happy for September.

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins
From this point on, the game stunk.
Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

José Berríos‘s recent woes continued, and the Twins struck out 11 times against Drew VerHagen, who hadn’t pitched longer than five innings this season. (It was VerHagen’s 121st game in MLB and his eighth big-league start.) Two homers each from Miguel Sano and Jake Cave weren’t enough to make up the difference. Inning-by-inning notes:

1: Berríos pitches a scoreless first inning for the first time since July 31st. His last three starts, somebody went dinger in the first. Reminds me of an old Brad Radke / first inning / chiropractor joke that involved swiveling your neck around violently to mimic watching balls travel very far. Who knows, maybe Radke was ahead of his time, and would have done better with an “opener.”

Boomstick Cruz doubles home Jorge Polanco with a 115 MPH line drive. I can’t even drive a car that fast. I mean, I could, but it would crash. Which would be cool if it were the Oscar Meyer weinermobile. Twins 1-0

2: After two opening singles put runners on first and third, Ronny Rodriguez gets himself Jason Castro’d trying to advance on a wild pitch. Berríos escapes scoreless. We won’t call that a TOOTBLAN, exactly — more like “Player In Lost Season Nonchalantly Enthusiastic Running,” or PILSNER. Which reminds me to put one in the fridge.

SanoBomb sighting, a mere 110 MPH. Cory Provus compares the Players’ Weekend white unis to outfits worn by Oompa Loompas and characters in Spaceballs, then uses a weird accent to go “may the Schwartz be with you.” Twins 2-0

3: Per beat scribe Do-Hyong Park, Willians Astudillo had the option to pick a jersey nicknname for Players’ Weekend despite being on the IL. Everybody on the Twins seems pretty confused why he didn’t go with “La Tortuga.” Ehire Adrianza wanted him to use just a turtle emoji. “I think he loves to be called La Tortuga, but maybe he doesn’t like it too much.”

4: First game photos came in on the Getty feed. The Twins batters actually DO look like Rick Moranis’s henchmen in Spaceballs. I had a ruptured appendix once, and spent two days in a hospital where the only TV was a channel running Spaceballs and Three Amigos over & over. Since then I never go anywhere without a book, just in case.

VerHagen strikes out all three Twins; five in a row for him. Old friend Niko Goodrum pulls a groin muscle, poor guy, and has to leave the game. Talk about lost seasons.

5: Ugh. Trying to stretch his leadoff single into a double, Jason Castro bangs his foot off the bag at second. He’s tagged out and walking funny. Probably fine, because catchers are made of flubber, but still an unfortunate decision. Especially when Jake Cave homers immediately afterwards. Twins 3-0

6: Single, single, then rookie Dawel Lugo double to start Detroit’s half. (Lugo came in for Goodrum.) Brandon Dixon lines out at 108 MPH and Travis Demeritte fills the bases with a walk. .224-hitting Ronny Rodriguez grands the salami. 21 pitches for Berríos, one out, five runs. Away he goes.

VerHagen pitches past five innings and La Makina can’t finish six. Those who followed the gamethread intro instructions are weeping and throwing rocks at random birds. Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Arraez make it strikeouts number 9, 10, & 11 for Mister Ver. Tigers 5-3

7: With two outs against Jose Cisnero, a single, HBP and walk load ‘em up for Jorge Polanco. After ball one, Gardy brings in Buck Farmer. Polanco pops it up. My pilsner tastes like the tears of baby angels.

8: Ronny Rodriguez strikes again, stealing a base and scoring on Harold Castro’s double. Someone named Victor Reyes also scores. If Sergio Romo is gonna make me drink more beer, he should buy me some.

The Twins do get to Farmer, courtesy of Sano’s second Big Stroke tonight. Tigers 7-5

9: Ryne Harper allows three straight hits to begin this d*mn thing, and fans make a Twexit. I suppose we should salute Tyler Duffey and Trevor May for not giving up any depressing runs tonight. Jake Cave has the first multi-homer game of his career, which is fantastic but doesn’t get me back those three hours and 26 minutes. Ballgame.

It’s worth observing that Eddie Rosario, who left Wednesday’s game with a strained hamstring, did not play tonight. Hopefully this won’t be another one of those “out five games then put on the IL retroactively” things again. Robot Roll Call:

Comment of the AtBat feed, per the Tigers’ MLB.com beat reporter:

Cleveland won, so Minnesota’s lead is now 2.5 games. Kyle Gibson goes at 6:10 tomorrow.