The Twins hit three home runs, but it wasn’t enough
The Twins have fielded an impressive defensive all season long. Without Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Max Kepler in the lineup on Memorial Day afternoon in Detroit, however, that unit had a choppy performance in a generally uneven game by the Rocco Baldelli’s club.
The Twins struck first on a solo bomb from Gary Sanchez in the top of the second inning. In fact, the visitors gave Tigers starter Beau Brieske plenty of traffic, with baserunners in each of the first four innings of the game.
Dylan Bundy started for Minnesota and retired seven of the first eight batters before surrendering a solo home run to Derek Hill in the bottom of the third inning that clanked off Kyle Garlick’s glove as he lept at the wall.
After a one-out single by Gio Urshela in the top of the fourth, Jose Miranda capitalized on a hanging breaking ball from Brieske and ripped it into the seats in left field, giving the Twins a 3-1 lead.
Bundy continued throwing strikes at an impressive rate in the bottom of the fourth, but unfortunately, it mirrored the old pitch-to-contact philosophy of Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson’s Twins a bit too much. The Tigers sent single, double, and single in a span of four pitches, tying the game at three before Bundy retired three consecutive batters to get out of the inning with the ballgame knotted up.
The Tigers plated another run on three hits in the fifth. Then, Ursehla tied the game back up at four with a home run in the top of the sixth inning.
The Twins put Joe Smith in the game in the seventh, and he allowed former Twin Jonathan Schoop to push a triple into the right-center field gap. Trevor Larnach didn’t play the ball quite as well as he could have, potentially leading to an extra base for Schoop — a player with decent speed but he’s not exactly a burner.
After a groundout with the infield in, Jeimer Candelario grounded to Luis Arraez at second base, who threw home to nail Schoop. However, Gary Sanchez couldn’t tag Schoop quickly enough in the rundown, allowing Candelario to gain second base.
With the game still tied, Spencer Torkelson grounded the ball between first and second base. The Twins were in a shift, so first baseman Jose Miranda had to rush to his right to backhand the ball and throw on the run to Smith, who was covering first base from the mound. The throw was behind the pitcher, and Cadelario came around from second base to score and give the Tigers a 5-4 lead. The next batter, Willi Castro, lined a single to center field and, just like that, it was a two-run deficit.
The Twins got a run back in the eighth on a Sanchez single and Urshela double, but the Tigers got it right back themselves against Trevor Megill on a walk, a passed ball, and a two-out throwing error from Urshela — although it was a ball that the inexperienced Miranda could have (and should have) come off the bag to knock down at first. Instead, the Tigers went up by two once again.
Nick Gordon led off the ninth inning with an infield single. Pinch-hitter Byron Buxton struck out on a full count with a failed check swing, Luis Arraez flew out, and Kyle Garlock lined out to deep right field to end the game.
- Baldelli went without three of his best five position players in this game, and it showed. I’m all for resting guys, especially with a doubleheader tomorrow, but why Buxton, Correa, and Kepler all at the same time?
- The defense was sloppy, to put it lightly. Errors by Miranda and Urshela, slight misplays by Larnach, Miranda, and Sanchez, and a passed ball by Sanchez all contributed to Tigers runs.
- Four of the Twins’ five runs came off of home runs.
- The Twins’ schedule gets rough after this five-gamer in Detroit, with three in Toronto and a homestand against the Yankees and Rays. It’s important to get at least three wins in five tries against these Tigers.
- Gio Urshela: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
- Jose Miranda: 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI R
- Kyle Garlick, 0-for-5, GIDP, K
- Ryan Jeffers: 0-for-3, 2 K
The Twins play two against the Tigers on Tuesday. The first pitch of the first game is again at 12:10 p.m. CT with the second game following at 6:10 p.m. CT.