DET 12, MIN 11: Twins Lose Crazy Game On Walk-Off HR
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY SportsWin Expectancy (via Fangraphs)
Thanks in large part to a James McCann grand slam, the Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning. This game appeared to be headed toward another one of those ugly, one-sided losses we were accustomed to seeing earlier this season, but a monster third inning put the Twins right back in it.
Joe Mauer cleared the bases with a double to get the Twins on the board and Eddie Rosario crushed a game-tying homer.
The Twins offense continued to roll, as they built an 11-6 lead by the sixth inning. Things would tilt back in the Tigers favor from there. Detroit scratched across a run off Dillon Gee in the seventh inning before tallying three more in the eighth, as Trevor Hildenberger allowed two runners he inherited from Gee to score and let in a run of his own to make it 11-10.
The Twins managed to load the bases in the top of the ninth, but Miguel Sano struck out swinging for the third out. You could feel the momentum shift at Comerica Park.
Matt Belisle, who bailed out Hildy by getting the final out of the eighth inning, opened up the the ninth by giving up a leadoff single to Mikie Mahtook. Belisle then fell behind Upton and surrendered the walk-off homer.
It was too bad the pitching couldn’t hold it together, because this was a banner night for the Twins bats. Everybody in the starting lineup had a multi-hit game other than Jorge Polanco, which was pretty ironic, since Polanco entered the night with five-straight multi-hit games. Jorge still managed to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer all homered, and Joe drove in five runs for the first time since 2010. Jason Castro was 3-for-4 with a walk. Brian Dozier also had three hits.
As impressive as it’s been to watch Polanco, Dozier and now Mauer break out over the past couple weeks, Rosario deserves a ton of credit for being such a consistent contributor. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, Rosie had at least an .800 OPS in May, June and July. That mark is up over 1.000 so far in August.
But, again, as exciting an offensive output it was, the end result was pretty depressing thanks to a horrific night for the pitching staff.
Jose Berrios gave up a grand slam in the first inning and left this one after just 3.1 innings pitched. He gave up six runs on six hits and two walks. He didn’t strike anybody out, either. Ryan Pressly entered with the Twins up 7-6, but Detroit had runners on first and second base. He retired both batters he faced to protect the lead. Gee shut out Detroit over the fifth and sixth innings before everything fell apart over those final three frames.
The inning that really hurt the Twins was the eighth, and you can’t help but wonder if things may have ended up differently had they have been able to turn this double play:
Postgame With Molitor
Twins W-L Record
Overall: 58-57 (.504)
Last 10: 7-3 (.700)
Last 20: 10-10 (.500)
Last 40: 19-21 (.475)
Last 80: 39-41 (.488)
AL Central Standings
Minnesota 58-57 (-4.5)
Kansas City 58-58 (-5.0)
Wild Card Standings
WC1: Yankees 61-54
WC2: Minnesota 58-57, Angels 59-58*, Seattle 59-58* (all tied)
Tampa Bay 59-59 (-0.5)
Kansas City 58-58 (-0.5)
*Saturday game still in progress. The Angels and Mariners are playing each other, so by the end of the night one of them will jump above the Twins.
Here’s a look at the starting lineups from the past seven games:
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Sunday: Twins (Ervin Santana) at Detroit (Matthew Boyd), 12:10 pm CT
Tuesday: Twins (TBD) vs. Cleveland (Danny Salazar), 7:10 pm CT