Starting Pitcher: Dylan Bundy 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (77 pitches, 53 strikes (69%))
Home Runs: Mark Contreras (3)
Top 3 WPA: Gio Urshela (0.132), Gilberto Celestino (0.98), Jake Cave (0.54)
Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
The Tigers took advantage of Dylan Bundy early and the Twins' defense scoring a run in the first. Matt Wallner was charged with an error when a bounding single from Riley Greene got past him and turned into a single two-base error. The Tigers struck first blood and got a run on the board in the first inning.
The Twins shut out the Tigers on Friday night and Saturday's game continued to trend. The two teams battled back and forth through the first few innings. Detroit pitcher Drew Hutchison ran up 72 pitches by the time Gary Sanchez came to bat in the fourth. Jake Cave led the fourth inning off with a single, and as Hutchinson labored through the line-up, a grounder from Sanchez killed the inning with a double-play, and Matt Wallner struck out swinging. The Twins batting with Runners in Scoring Position this season has been frustrating.
Leaving Nothing on the Field
Both teams are out of the postseason chase. For Carlos Correa, it is the first time since 2016 that he hasn't played in the playoffs. Gio Urshela is another player missing the post-season but, has been a huge asset in the Twins' clubhouse and on the field throughout the season.
The best thing about this club is that there is depth and options for next season. The Twins were plagued with injuries throughout the season, but many replacements who came up stepped up. Manager Rocco Baldelli stepped in when the Twins came up against rough games or bad calls. Baldelli spent a lot of time challenging plays this season and in this game, that was no exception. Gary Sanchez, who isn't fast, rocketed to first base on a fielder's choice. Detroit shortstop Ryan Kreidler flipped to second to get Cave out and the throw to first base appeared to get Sanchez out. Baldelli challenged the play, the call was overturned, and Sanchez was safe.
Jose Miranda has been another player putting on quite the clinic during his time with the club. Miranda leads the club with 66 RBIs and has been one of the hottest rookies in MLB this season. Dick Bremer mentioned that Miranda will be spending with Correa in Houston in the off-season, which certainly will give Miranda an education.
A Fight to the End (of the Night)
Bundy gave up his 24th home run of the season when Eric Haase hit his eighth home run to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
That changed when Mark Contreas came up to bat in the top of the fifth frame and hit a bomb into the right field stands just inside the foul pole, Luis Arraez started the night 0-for-2 and ripped a ball into right field for a single. Arraez grabbed at his hamstring as he approached first base, but he remained in the game. During a Detroit pitching change, Arraez walked over to third base coach Tommy Watkins and was still out on second after the commercial break.
Urshela came up to bat and hit a single to left, and Arraez took off; not without a grimace and a slight hobble, but he dug deep, found speed, and made it home to tie the game at two!
The season may be over for the Twins, but Arraez is still contending for the American League batting title. Hitting .315, he is just edging out Aaron Judge, who is striving for the MVP and a Yankees home run record. The race for the batting title potentially could keep Judge from achieving the Triple Crown. During an earlier interview, Baldelli said, "There is a new calm with Arraez over the past few days."
Arraez has stated that he's enjoying the race but wants to win. While everyone loves a good contention, no one deserves the AL batting title more than Luis Arraez (at least in the mind of Twins fans... right?).
The Tigers changed their pitcher, and the Twins had bases loaded and two outs with Sanchez up to bat. Sanchez was due for a hit, and with a .323 average with RISP, it would have been beautiful to see a grand slam. Instead, Jose Cisnero saw an opportunity out of the corner of his eye and picked off Urshela at second base to end the inning.
Finishing out the Night
Ronny Henriquez came in to pitch in the sixth inning. Henriquez came to the Twins in the Mitch Garver trade in spring training and has had two appearances with the Twins. In his previous games, he has posted a 3.12 ERA with seven hits, three earned runs, and six strike-outs. He gave up an unearned run on an error by Arraez on a chopper from Harold Castro.
The Tigers held the lead, but the Twins loaded the bases in the eighth inning. Instead of Wallner coming to the plate, the Twins pulled Ryan Jeffers off the bench as a pinch hitter. A smart decision by Baldelli when All-Star lefty Gregory Soto came in. Jeffers had an 0-2 count and hit a hard groundball that was destined for centerfield, but Soto deflected it with his glove and it went right to the shortstop who turned a double play to end the inning and another rally for the Twins.
The Twins were only down a run going into the ninth and quickly got the tying run on a single from Arraez. Correa came up to bat and hit a fly-out (liner) to right field, but with two outs and the Twins history of late-inning rallies, the dream was still alive. The rally fell short when Nick Gordon, who had two hits earlier in the game, struck out swinging.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet