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Twins 4, Tigers 3: Speed kills

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Buxton’s clutch single caps a ninth-inning rally to pay off a brilliant pitcher’s duel.

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The game opened with a run for the Tigers, and ended with a run for the Twins.

Detroit outfielder Victor Reyes has been on a bit of a hot streak - and tonight was no exception. A 2-for-4 evening was kickstarted by a leadoff homer against Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda, who said, “I think I’ll stop doing that now,” and proceeded to retire the next 18 hitters in a row.

It was another ace-like outing from Maeda, whose final line through six innings included eight strikeouts and two solitary hits. While the Tiger lineup is prone to whiffs, Maeda once again boasted a nearly-untouchable repertoire, with a clear gameplan for every hitter — one that worked like a charm.

Credit where credit is due - his counterpart, Tyler Skubal, was just as good. Skubal tossed four perfect innings before Brent Rooker singled to right to begin the fifth. That inning would produce the first run for the Twins; after Miguel Sano singled pinch-runner Jake Cave to third, Eddie Rosario knotted the score by grounding into a 1-6-3 double play.

But Detroit would reclaim their lead two frames later. Maeda was chased from his outing after a walk and a single opened the top of the seventh. Tyler Clippard came on in a fireman role, and — evidently misinterpreting what “fireman” means — created more fire. Three straight singles — two of them coming on his first two pitches — pushed the Tiger lead to 3-1.

From there, it was clutch time.

Miguel Sano drove a frozen rope off the facing of the second deck with two outs in the home seventh, closing the lead to one. After a mostly quiet eighth, Minnesota would take their final cuts against Detroit’s Jose Cisnero.

Cisnero walked Donaldson, who left the basepaths in favor of Ehire Adrianza. The Twins’ hopes were nearly dashed when Nelson Cruz grounded one right back up the middle — but a lucky trajectory found the Tiger closer square in the line of fire. The grounder ricocheted off Cisnero’s leg, and the 40-year-old DH was able to leg out an infield hit.

After Jake Cave failed to lay down the bunt and ultimately struck out, Miguel Sano lined a 1-2 pitch through the hole to left, scoring the speedy Adrianza and tying the game. Rosie then beat out a near-double play, leaving it all down to Byron Buxton.

On a 2-2 count, Buck rolled one over to short. Abandoning his follow-through completely, Buxton was out of the box in a flash — and...I think you know where this one’s going. Despite a Hail Mary challenge from the Tigers, the Twins walked it off on Buxton’s infield hit.

Byron Buxton running - the most exciting two seconds in sports.

STUDS:

SP Kenta Maeda (6 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, BB, 8 K)

RP Jorge Alcala (2 IP, 2 H, 3K)

1B Miguel Sano (3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI)

CF Byron Buxton (1-for-4, RBI)

DUDS:

NO DUDS! TWINS WIN! TWINS WIN!

ROBOT ROLL CALL:

The Twins have taken five in a row and nearly broken even from last week’s losing streak. The quest for an undefeated September continues tomorrow.