Polanco’s 3-run HR enough as Twins top Tigers
Jorge Polanco launched a three-run homer and Michael Pineda was solid in his last start of the year as the Minnesota Twins beat the Detroit Tigers 5-2 on Wednesday night.
Minnesota began the game with three hits against right-hander Casey Mize. After singles by Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton, Polanco took Mize deep to center field on the first pitch.
Polanco’s 32nd homer of the season gave him 94 RBIs, both team highs.
Pineda (9-8) allowed one run and scattered eight hits over 5 2/3 innings in what could be his final game with the Twins. The veteran right-hander can become a free agent this offseason. He finished the year with a 3.62 ERA in 22 games after making just five starts in 2020.
Pineda worked around trouble in the second and fifth, stranding a runner on third each time. He exited to a standing ovation in the sixth.
Mize (7-9) settled down after the first inning but lasted just four. He finished his season with a 3.71 ERA in 30 starts.
Max Kepler and Nick Gordon had RBIs in the eighth to give the Twins a pair of insurance runs.
Twins right-hander Joe Ryan was reinstated from the bereavement list and is slated to start Thursday’s series finale. Ryan will be making his fifth career start. He’s 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA and has 25 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Ryan was able to continue throwing while he was away from the team.
Minnesota acquired Ryan from Tampa Bay in the trade that sent slugger Nelson Cruz to the Rays in July.
“I wish they would’ve done a little worse in the Nelson Cruz return,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “They did pretty well.”
Tigers: Harold Castro was hit on the right foot by a pitch in the eighth inning but remained in the game after a brief visit from an athletic trainer.
Twins: Pineda was hit in the right thigh by a comebacker off the bat of Castro in the fourth. The pitcher was evaluated but stayed in the game.
Ryan will be opposed by Tigers LHP Tarik Skubal (8-12, 4.13 ERA), who hasn’t gone more than four innings in any of his last four starts.