Detroit Tigers lose, 7-3, to Minnesota Twins on rainy night
The Detroit Tigers missed scoring opportunities in the second and fourth innings, but Willi Castro cleared strong bats from Jeimer Candelario and Miguel Cabrera with a triple shot at left field on the sixth inning Friday.
Castro reduced his team’s deficit to one run, just before a second rain delay.
His explosion wasn’t enough for the Tigers (9-24) in a 7-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park. The start of the series included two rain delays – for 35 minutes in the middle of the fifth inning and for 1:09 between the sixth and seventh innings.
The Tigers lost their second straight win after snapping a six-game skid in additional innings against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. Detroit have set a 3:18 record in their last 21 games. Against the twins, the Tigers went 1: 8 with runners in the goal position.
“We had better bats tonight to continue our last streak,” said manager AJ Hinch. “This swing from Willi is exactly the reason why you want to stay with them and give them the chance to get a little hot.”
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After the second rain delay, the Twins added a run each in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Jorge Polanco tore an RBI double against Jose Cisnero in the seventh. Max Kepler was a solo home run against Daniel Norris in the eighth game. In the ninth, Miguel Sano pulled an RBI single on Norris’ Fastball to the left.
The twins were without outfielder Byron Buxton, who opened the season with nine homers and a 0.370 average in 24 games before joining the 10-day injured list on Friday with a strain on his right hip. A few hours earlier, the Tigers had put starter Wilson Ramos with a load on the lumbar spine on the 10-day list of injured.
Minnesota bat Nelson Cruz went 5-0 down with a strikeout.
Detroit plays the second of three games in the series on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. Right-handed Jose Urena starts against right-handed Jose Berrios.
A better skubal
Left-handed Tarik Skubal had a few flaws, but he wasn’t in his worst form. He allowed four runs with two hits and two walks. He gave up a leadoff home run to Kyle Garlick (on a 2-2 slider) in the first inning and a leadoff home run to Polanco (on a 1-1 slider) in the second inning. It was an inefficient start that required 96 pitches (62 strikes) to complete five innings.
But there were moments when the 24-year-old looked brilliant.
After Garlick’s first inning blast, Skubal knocked out the next three batters: Josh Donaldson (fastball), Cruz (splinter) and Mitch Garver (splinter). He threw in two more strikeouts – Sano (Splitter) and Andrelton Simmons (Fastball) – after Polancos Homer in the second. He finished with eight strikers.
“Tonight it was more of a change than a separation,” said Hinch. “We talked to him about it for a long time. We didn’t like the shared use for him for the last three or four outings. He’s always had a decent change, so I think he changed his grip a bit. It looked pretty effective out. “
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Skubal started Friday with a combined ERA of 9.53 over 5⅔ innings in his last two appearances.
But he looked better in Comerica Park. His four-seam fastball speed jumped to an average of 94.5 mph, and his top gun hit a maximum of 98.6 mph in the first inning. He used 56 fastballs, 21 splitters, 11 sliders and eight curveballs. After giving up homers with his slider, he left that pitch and used a fastball-splitter mix.
“It makes my fastball go way up,” said Skubal. “When I can slow guys down and speed up again, I think it’s very important to me, especially when faced with a lot of rights. Just being able to expand that half of the record and not command my fastball away perfectly have to because it can play out the change. It’s a big challenge for me to move forward. “
Of Skubal’s 13 swings and failures, he got seven with his fastball, four with his splinter, one with his slider and one with his curveball. He knocked out Garlick, who was swinging on a slider in the fifth inning, but he never got a feel for the pitch.
A moment of development occurred when Hinch sent Skubal back for the fifth inning on 85 pitches. Surprisingly, it only took him 11 spots to hit three outs while facing four batters, including Cruz, to complete his outing.
Skubal used 19 pitches in the first inning, 24 in the second, 18 in the third, 24 in the fourth, and 11 in the fifth. This season he has an ERA of 5.67 in seven games.
“I was over 60 after three innings,” said Skubal. “Still not great. Not where I want to be. I want to get into ball games more efficiently and deeply. It helps everyone. Help the bullpen, help the offense. Fast innings, guys want to play behind this kind of thing.” . “
After the (first) rain delay
In the middle of the fifth inning, the Tigers and Twins had a 35-minute rain delay.
After the teams returned, Shoemaker finished fifth with two spells. The Trenton product (and east Michigan alum) kept the Tigers from scoring a goal, allowing only four hits and two walks with five spikes. He threw 53 of his 86 pitches for strikes and relied more on his pusher than on his splinter.
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Returning from the rain was not so pleasant for the tigers. Right-hander Bryan Garcia relieved Skubal and gave up two runs – triggered by consecutive one-off walks by Polanco and Sano – when the twins took a 4-0 lead. Polanco encountered Kepler’s single; Sano crossed home plate on Simmons’ groundout.
Finally, Cabrera meets
First baseman Miguel Cabrera, who saw the worst slump of his career, shot a 27-07 skid with a long field to the right in the second inning. The ball moved 336 feet – with an exit speed of 101.5 miles per hour.
But the 38-year-old Cabrera couldn’t reach the second base. He settled on a single, but that was all he needed to escape his hit-free streak. The 19-year-old MLB veteran came into the game with a batting average of 0.098 (6 to 61) in 17 games. Cabrera went with two runs against the twins 2-2 and increased his batting average to 0.127.
In the fourth inning, he played out the middle and hit Shoemaker in a row.
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The second inning single brought Cabrera to 2,873 career hits, putting him with Babe Ruth in 45th place on the all-time MLB leaderboard. He overtook Ruth with his single in the fourth. In addition to chasing 3,000 hits, Cabrera is racing to 500 home runs. He is currently 11 balls away from this historic milestone.
“We all have to take a minute to think a little,” said Hinch. “I don’t care what generation you were born in, how old you are, how tall you are as a baseball fan, you know Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth is synonymous with baseball. Miggy should be very proud.”
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more about the Detroit Tigers and subscribe to our Tigers newsletter.