Looking to secure a second consecutive series win and a four-game winning streak, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers faced off in yet another matinee game within the confines of Comerica Park. For the second series in a row, one of the games included free baseball with (what some would consider) dumb rules. But first, how did the teams get there?
The Twins looked to J. A. “J” Happ to lead the team from the mound this afternoon while the Tigers went with young Casey “K. C.” Mize. Both exchanged goose eggs for the first third of the game with both clubs failing to plate baserunners. Minnesota had its best chance to strike first in the second inning with Jake Cave and Willians Astudillo on first and second, but Ryan Jeffers grounded into a fielder’s choice to end that threat.
Nevertheless, the Twins did strike first in the top of the fourth. A Max Kepler double led off the frame, followed by a strikeout and a Cave single. A fielder’s choice off the bat of Miguel Sano meant that runners were on first and third with two out for Astudillo. La Tortuga laced a single to center field and the Twins had a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers manufactured a run of their own in the bottom of the same inning, thanks to an RBI double from former Twins player and all-out hustle man Robbie Grossman. The fourth inning was the last one for Happ, who was serviceable for the Twins today: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.
Minnesota looked to take the lead again in the top of the fifth after Jorge Polanco reached on a fielding error and stole second base. After advancing to third on a Nelson Cruz fly-out, he was thrown out at home trying to score on a batted ball from Kepler. On the flip side of the frame, Detroit took advantage of a pitching change to plate two runs. Cody Stashak allowed a single, strikeout, and walked Miguel Cabrera to get into a one-out jam. Jeimer Candelario hit a double to right field, plating former Twin Niko Goodrum while Grossman notched an RBI single to plate Cabrera, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
It was a pretty quiet game after that except Cruz hit another homer in the top of the seventh to make it 3-2. Oh, and Byron Buxton came into the game and hit a lead-off homer to start off the eighth inning and tied the game 3-3. Those guys are pretty darn good!
The ninth inning saw Gregory Soto and Taylor Rogers pitch a scoreless ninth inning to force extras. The Twins defense got Rogers out of a jam thanks in part to a double play, their second of the game. They weren’t able to turn any magic in the top of the tenth, though. Cruz hit a single and Polanco, who started at second base, was held up at third. A Kepler strikeout lead to Buxton coming up to bat. A fielder’s choice lead to the Tigers throwing Polanco out at home for the second time in the game. Andrelton Simmons pinch hit for Cave and promptly struck out to end the inning.
The bottom of the tenth saw Harold Castro start on second base and advance to third on a Candelario ground-out. Hansel Robles struck out former Twin Wilson Ramos and then intentionally walked Grossman to get to former Twins farm-hand Akil Baddoo. And, sure enough, Baddoo is the hero for the Tigers after his hot start this season, lacing a single to right field to bring in the winning run. The Twins lose, once again, thanks to Manfred’s Rule.
Tigers 4, Twins 3
W: Soto (1-0)
L: Robles (0-1)
These two teams will face off again tomorrow for the rubber match before the Twins head to Minneapolis for the home opener. Yes, it’s another afternoon game - 1210p Central is first pitch. Kenta Maeda (0-0, 2.08 ERA) will toe the rubber for Minnesota while Matthew Boyd (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the nod for the Tigers.
THIS AND THAT:
- The Twins with runners in scoring position today? 2-for-14.
- The Twins left 10 runners on base. That’s not how you win games.
- Nelson Cruz: 3-5, HR
- Byron Buxton: 1-2, HR
- Caleb Thielbar, Tyler Duffey, and Taylor Rogers: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K
- Robert Manfred
- Miguel Sano: 0-4, 2 K, 4 LOB
- Luiz Arraez: 0-5, 2 K, 3 LOB
- Cody Stashak: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K
COMMENT OF THE GAME THREAD:
Griffcat reminds us of how terrible the Twins’ challenges have been so far this season.
COOL CAT ROLL CALL:
|9||The Empire Strikes Out||3|
Many thanks for joining in the thread of game today!