Photo: AP/Jim Mone.
Photo: AP/Jim Mone.
Created: July 27, 2021 12:23 AM
Max Kepler's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning against All-Star closer Gregory Soto gave the Minnesota Twins a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.
Soto walked the bases loaded in the ninth before striking out Willians Astudillo on three pitches, finishing him with a 100 mph fastball. Soto had two outs in the 10th, but walked Andrelton Simmons and then gave up Kepler's ninth career game-ending hit.
The line drive to center field was plenty deep to score pitcher Kenta Maeda, the scheduled starter for Tuesday who began the inning as the automatic runner at second. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli decided to forfeit the designated hitter with some earlier lineup shuffling.
Robbie Grossman’s pinch-hit, two-run homer tied the game for the Tigers with one out in the ninth after Twins All-Star closer Taylor Rogers exited with a sprained left middle finger. Alex Colomé completed the walk to Jeimer Candelario, and Grossman hit the first pitch he saw for a high fly to left that landed just beyond the limestone facade.
Michael Pineda pitched six smooth innings for the Twins in his final start before the trade deadline. Pineda held the Tigers scoreless until a two-out, two-run shot by Miguel Cabrera, career homer No. 495 for the two-time AL MVP.
Pineda had six strikeouts, with five hits and no walks allowed. The burly right-hander is one of several veterans on expiring contracts being shopped around this week, with the two-time defending AL Central champions Twins in last place.
Brent Rooker and Josh Donaldson homered and Mitch Garver doubled twice against Tigers starter Matt Manning, driving in Donaldson in the second and scoring on a single by Miguel Sanó in the fourth. Rooker took Manning deep to start the sixth and snap a 2-all tie, reaching the third deck above left field for the second straight game. The homer was projected at 460 feet.
Manning was pulled after walking Jorge Polanco, and then Donaldson crushed an 0-1 slider from José Cisnero — watching it sail into the second deck behind center field for his 16th homer.
Eric Haase also homered for the Tigers, who have lost eight road games in a row. They won their first seven games out of the All-Star break, but they've started 0-4 on this six-game trip.
Jonathan Schoop singled before Cabrera's homer and stretched his career-best hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active run in the majors. Schoop's streak is the longest for the Tigers since a 17-game run by Nick Castellanos in September 2017.
The Twins had their first-round draft pick, right-handed pitcher Chase Petty, at the ballpark before the game after finalizing his first contract with a $2.5 million signing bonus. The New Jersey native was the 26th overall selection after posting a 1.15 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings this year for Mainland Regional High School.
“I’m definitely very headstrong, a very competitive pitcher," Petty said. "I don’t know anybody who has more of a dog mentality than I do, that I’ve ever met. So when I’m on that mound it’s kind of just attack, attack, attack. I don’t really see a guy truly beating me in this game.”
The Twins have signed 18 of their 21 draft picks from this month.
Tigers: RHP Michael Fulmer, out for a month with a neck strain, pitched a scoreless inning in a rehab appearance for Triple-A Toledo on Sunday. He's close to being reinstated from the injured list, manager A.J. Hinch said.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (broken left pinkie) has added light gripping exercises to his rehabilitation program for strengthening and mobility work on his hand. He's been out five weeks.
Tigers: LHP Tyler Alexander (1-1, 4.24 ERA) pitches Tuesday night. The reliever-turned-starter gave up two runs in 3 1/3 innings against Minnesota on July 17.
Twins: Maeda (4-4, 4.63) takes the mound for the middle game of the series. He has a 2.35 ERA in four starts this month.
(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)