Twins end scoreless drought at 24 innings, swept by Tigers
DETROIT (AP) — It took an error, but at least the Minnesota Twins scored a run at Comerica Park.
Even so, new manager Paul Molitor’s team left Detroit after getting swept in a three-game series to start the season, beaten 7-1 by the Tigers on Thursday.
The Twins had gone 24 straight innings without a run before nicking Shane Greene in the seventh. Joe Mauer walked and scored when Kennys Vargas hit a double that was misplayed for an error by left fielder Yoenis Cespedes.
“The guys were joking around that at least we had one,” Molitor said. “We were down 22-0 for the season at that point, and you have to start somewhere.”
Minnesota hadn’t scored in 34 innings, dating to the final 10 last year also in Detroit.
Molitor and the Twins will try again for their first win, and first earned run, on Friday against the White Sox in Chicago’s home opener.
The Tigers set a modern-day American League record by extending their season-opening shutout streak to 24 innings. According to STATS, the previous longest streak by an AL team was 22 by the 1947 Chicago White Sox.
Greene (1-0) allowed one run over eight innings in a game delayed at the start by rain for 3 hours and 36 minutes. He gave up four hits and a walk, striking out five.
“It actually turned out to be great weather for baseball, especially at this time of year,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “We know Shane has very good stuff, and when he keeps it down like today, he’s outstanding.”
Kyle Gibson (0-1) allowed six runs on eight hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings.
“I thought I executed a lot of pitches today, but I walked so many guys that I didn’t give myself a chance,” he said. “You can’t overcome bad luck when you are giving them free baserunners.”
After the Twins went down in order in the first, Gibson ran into immediate trouble in the home half.
Anthony Gose led off with a bloop double. After Ian Kinsler walked, Gibson retired Miguel Cabrera, but walked Victor Martinez to load the bases. J.D. Martinez and Cespedes followed with RBI singles to make it 2-0.
“That inning pretty much continued the first two games of the season,” Molitor said.
Minnesota didn’t score in the second inning, giving them a 20-inning scoreless streak to start the season and breaking the franchise record set by the 1940 Washington Senators.
The Tigers added a third run in the second and three more in the fourth, including two on a long homer by J.D. Martinez.
Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco traveled back to Minneapolis after Wednesday’s start to get an MRI on his pitching elbow. Molitor said the team did not expect results until Thursday evening. . C Chris Herrmann left the game after two innings. He was cut on the bridge of the nose by a foul tip on Gibson’s first pitch of the game, but passed concussion tests.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (triceps strain) “felt great” playing catch in the outfield before the game. Verlander is on the disabled list for the first time in his career. . RHP Bruce Rondon (Tommy John surgery) has been throwing without discomfort, according to Ausmus.
HALL OF FAME APOLOGY
Twins broadcaster Bert Blyleven apologized on the air and on Twitter for calling the skyline and city of Detroit “ugly” on the social-media network during the rain delay. The Twins and FOX Sports North issued a joint statement saying they were “disappointed” in the tweets, which even caught the attention of Michigan governor Rick Snyder. Snyder tweeted a picture of the Tigers’ AL Central championship banner with the comment “I think our view of downtown Detroit looks just great, @BertBlyleven28!”
Twins: Travel to Chicago for a three-game series against the White Sox.
Tigers: Travel to Cleveland for a three-game series against the Indians.