There must be something about facing these Detroit Tigers that bring out the best in Minnesota Twins hitters.
For the fourth time in the four-game series, the Twins popped three-plus homers on the way to a 5-4 win over the Tigers to take the series, 3-1.
The last of those homers came off the bat of Eddie Rosario, who gave the Twins the decisive run needed to steal the game, and as a result the series with his eighth-inning blast off Tigers reliever Alex Wilson.
The blast was the 22nd of the year for Rosario.
In true Rosario fashion, it was an 0-2 pitch around his neck.
“Ahh… you know, I don’t know if he was guessing neck-high fastball again, but he guessed right,” manager Paul Molitor said wryly.
Jake Odorizzi took the mound for the Twins, and cruised through five innings before hitting a significant obstacle in the sixth. That obstacle was his command, as he issued back-to-back walks following a Jeimer Candelario double to fill the bases, and as a result, had to hit the showers without recording an out in the sixth.
That marked Odorizzi’s 26th straight start where he didn’t record an out in the seventh inning, and according to the Twins, that’s the longest stretch in MLB history.
“I’d disagree with spotless through five,” Odorizzi said. “My fastball command all day was maybe a ball off, a half-ball off. I was executing a lot of pitches, but they were just missing by a few inches consistently. That was the story of the day, just being off. I felt good, just away to righties a little bit off, away to lefties the same way. It was one of those games that was a grind.
“Through the middle part of the game, I made some adjustments and got some big outs when we needed to. Sixth inning, just a ball that stays fair by a couple of inches, and I went back to missing a few balls off the plate, too, at the wrong ideal time. It just sucks, I thought today was better than what it showed, but I’m just glad we were able to come back and Rosie got the big hit when we needed it.”
Molitor concurred with Odorizzi’s assessment.
“Ratio today wasn’t great,” he said of the righty’s ability to throw strikes. “It got better (from the) second through the fifth. But yeah, you could tell he was getting a little frustrated, some pitches that were a little close that weren’t going his way.”
All three of Odorizzi’s runners came around to score, as Matt Magill came in and promptly walked Niko Goodrum on four pitches. Magill’s bout with wildness was just one pitch away from matching Odorizzi’s — he threw seven straight out of the zone — before he got Victor Martinez to ground into a double play which made it a 4-3 game.
Magill got Mikie Mahtook swinging on three pitches to end the inning, but not before Jim Adduci singled up the middle to plate the game’s tying run.
The Tigers struck first blood on a pair of back-to-back doubles to open the second inning, as Martinez doubled to deep right and Adduci followed suit to give Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Tigers starter/opener Buck Farmer — rather than the originally reported Jacob Turner, who ended up facing Triple-A affiliate Rochester instead in a game where former Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar got the win — held Minnesota in check through the first two innings before things started to heat up.
Mitch Garver and Tyler Austin opened the third inning with singles, and both moved up on Joe Mauer’s grounder to first. Manager Ron Gardenhire went to the bullpen for Zac Reininger, who immediately gave up a sacrifice fly to right from Rosario and then a booming double to center off the bat of Jorge Polanco, plating Austin to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
The Twins brought the thunder in the fourth inning against Reininger, as Max Kepler opened the inning with a homer to center.
Nine pitches later, Jake Cave hit a mammoth blast into Catch above the batter’s eye in center field. Statcast pegged the homer at 430 feet, coming off the bat at a blistering 108 mph.
Cave is only the third player in Twins history — Byungho Park, Miguel Sano — to reach Catch with a home run.
“I got that one pretty good,” Cave said afterward. “I can’t think of specific ones that I got that far. I had some pretty good ones last year maybe. I had a couple this year, but that one’s probably going to be right up there if somebody were to ask me, yeah.”
Meanwhile, Odorizzi was cruising at that point of the game. He recorded 12 straight outs from Adduci’s double scoring Martinez in the second until he took the mound in the sixth, and from that point on, wasn’t able to get another before handing the ball over to Molitor.
Trevor Hildenberger took over for Taylor Rogers in the eighth inning, and got the final out as well as three in the ninth — with a single and a walk mixed in — for the win.
- Now to the important news: in T.C. Bear’s Summer Bash before the game, Team TC won 7-5 with the bear himself ending the game with a solo homer into the bullpen.
- The Twins optioned Tyler Duffey to Rochester to make room for Monday’s starter. Lefty Stephen Gonsalves will be making his MLB debut against the Chicago White Sox.
- Third-base coach Gene Glynn left the game due to an illness. “He’s doing okay,” Molitor said. “Wasn’t feeling quite right. We’re making sure we’re checking him out thoroughly, but we didn’t put him out there.”
- Rosario’s hitting streak was extended to seven games with the home run. He has exactly seven hits over that stretch. The longest stretch of one-hit games in a row was Ted Sizemore in 1975 for the St. Louis Cardinals, according to Baseball Reference.
- The win pushed the Twins to 12-19 in one-run games this season, 5-1 on the homestand and 38-25 at Target Field this season.
- The Twins have won 19 of their last 25 games at home.