October 01, 2017 07:30 PM
Bartolo Colon made a final bid to be included in Minnesota's postseason rotation, pitching one-run ball into the seventh inning to lead the Twins to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the regular-season finale Sunday.
Jason Castro homered and drove in three runs for the Twins, who play an AL wild-card game in New York against the Yankees on Tuesday night. A win would put the Twins in an ALDS against Cleveland, where Minnesota may need an experienced arm like Colon (5-6).
Anibal Sanchez (3-7) gave up three runs and seven hits and struck out six in five innings for the Tigers, who missed the postseason for the third straight year and will go into the offseason looking for a manager to replace Brad Ausmus. Alex Presley hit a solo homer in the third inning.
The Twins finished 85-77, their highest victory total since they won 94 in 2010. That is also the last time they were in the playoffs, and now they gear up for a familiar nemesis. The Twins are 1-9 against the Yankees in their last three playoff series, including 3-0 sweeps in 2009 and 2010.
Colon pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and a walk while striking out four.
Chris Gimenez also homered for Minnesota and Joe Mauer went 1 for 3 with an RBI-double to finish the regular season with a .305 batting average, the first time he has topped .300 since 2013.
Bryan Holaday and JaCoby Jones had two hits for the Tigers.
The game was delayed 40 minutes by rain.
Twins: DH Miguel Sano went 0 for 3 as he works to get his timing back for the postseason. The slugger returned to active duty Friday after missing 38 games with a stress reaction in his left shin.
The 44-year-old Colon's steady hand helped stabilize a rickety Twins rotation after he was picked up in the middle of July. But he had staggered of late, giving up 20 runs in 18 2/3 innings in September. The Twins don't have a lot behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios, so the strong outing could be enough to win him a spot in October.
Despite the Twins' surprising surge to the playoffs, manager Paul Molitor has yet to have discussions with executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine about a new contract. Molitor's deal is up after this season, and Falvey and Levine said they would address the situation after the season ends.
"If circumstances were different and we weren't playing Tuesday, I might have spent more time thinking about it, to be honest with you," Molitor said. "Whenever we're done, and hopefully it's not for a while, I'm sure that will be pushed to the forefront."
The game held some meaning for the Tigers. There was draft positioning on the line.
The loss, coupled with a win by the San Francisco Giants over the San Diego Padres, means the Tigers will get the No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft. Had Detroit won and the Phillies lost on Sunday, the Tigers could have dropped to No. 3.
Tigers: The offseason. They finish with a 64-98 record, their most losses since they went 43-119 in 2003.
Twins: Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28) will start for the Twins against the Yankees on Tuesday.
Updated: October 01, 2017 07:30 PM
Created: October 01, 2017 06:30 PM
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)