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Castro’s hit starts rally, leads Tigers past Twins 4-2

September 26, 2018
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Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer follows through on a base hit against the Detroit Tigers during a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Minneapolis. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Harold Castro completed the minor league season and was home in Venezuela spending time with his son and focusing on the offseason when he got a surprise phone call to return and play with the Detroit Tigers.

Castro’s first career hit started an eighth-inning rally that led the Tigers to a 4-2 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday in a game in which Joe Mauer set the Twins’ record for reaching base.

“I was relaxing with my son,” Castro said. “I was taking time with him because of eight months here. I was eating with him when I received the call to the major leagues.”

Mauer singled in the first inning, reaching base for the 3,073 time in his career and surpassing Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. Mauer stood at first base and waved his hat to the home crowd after the feat was acknowledged on the Target Field video board.

“You mention Harmon and you mention Kirby (Puckett) and mention Tony (Oliva) and some of the other greats, to be up there with them is very special and humbling,” Mauer said. “It kind of really didn’t hit me until the second half. It was a nice moment.”

Detroit selected Castro’s contract from Triple-A Toledo last week and made the call to Venezuela for him to return and play the final week of the season. He made his first career start in his second game, and singled to start a four-run rally in the eighth inning for the Tigers.

Castro stole second base and scored on Nicholas Castellanos’ RBI single. Niko Goodrum added an RBI single and James McCann capped the inning with a two-run double.

“We saw him in spring training, he can pick it,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We needed an infielder desperately. Well, if we’re going to make him go through all that, he’s going to play. He’s going to get a chance to play and then, lucky for us, he got his first major league hit.”

Victor Alcantara (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning in relief of starter Spencer Turnbull, who allowed one run in six innings in his second major league start. Shane Greene earned his 32nd save.

Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger (4-6) surrendered four runs and retired one batter while giving up three hits and a walk.

Mauer finished with two hits, a walk and two runs scored. Mauer could be playing his final homestand after 15 seasons with Minnesota. He is a free agent after the season and has said he’ll decide after the season whether to retire.

“They grabbed the base and the ball,” Mauer said of setting the record. “I was telling (senior director of communications Dustin Morse) that I’ll have the team keep the base and I’ll take the ball. It’s kind of fun to get some of these mementos from these days.”

POTENT PRIMARY

Kohl Stewart pitched six scoreless innings as the Twins’ “primary” pitcher. He gave up two hits and struck out five batters after Gabriel Moya started and pitched one inning. Minnesota is 3-4 in games in which it’s used an opener.

Stewart has thrown 12 straight scoreless innings and has allowed just three runs in 20 1/3 innings in four games as one of the team’s primary pitchers.

“You’re trying to get these guys out on positive notes, and he did really well,” manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s done a nice job of adapting to the primary role of coming in, and the last few outings have been really good.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: CF JaCoby Jones was back in the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury.

Twins: Molitor reiterated that OF Eddie Rosario’s season is done because of a right quadriceps injury. ... Molitor is hopeful Miguel Sano, who has played just one game since Sept. 4 because of a bruised leg, can still return this season. ... C Mitch Garver has cleared concussion tests. Garver has been out since Sept. 12. ... RHP Aaron Slegers was activated off the disabled list after recovering from right shoulder inflammation.

UP NEXT

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (7-10, 4.35 ERA) will make his 30th start of the season for Minnesota on Wednesday. Detroit will counter with left-hander Matt Boyd (9-12, 4.16), who is making his 31st start of the year in the middle of the three-game series. Odorizzi is coming off back-to-back quality starts for the first time this season after beating the Tigers on Sept. 18. He allowed two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Boyd had his shortest outing of the year in his last start, giving up five runs — two earned — in 1 1/3 innings against Kansas City. He’s 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA against the Twins this season.

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