Twins stun Tigers in 9th for 4-3 win
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Detroit Tigers were barely finished celebrating another go-ahead homer in the ninth inning when an ill-advised dive and an infield single cost them a victory.
Aaron Hicks hit a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning and the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 4-3 victory over the AL Central-leading Tigers on Tuesday night.
“Anybody who thought this was going to be easy and we’d go out and win every game really doesn’t understand the game of baseball,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
After J.D. Martinez hit a three-run home run to give Detroit a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, Trevor Plouffe drew a one-out walk against Joe Nathan (4-4) in the bottom of the inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Doug Bernier.
Bernier scored when center fielder Ezequiel Carrera dove for Kurt Suzuki’s line drive and missed it, allowing the ball to roll to the wall.
Chris Herrmann ran for Suzuki and scored when Hicks battled Nathan to a full count and beat out a bouncer fielded by shortstop Andrew Romine near second base.
Nathan cited the walk to Plouffe as his main mistake.
“For me, I guess the one thing I can look back on is the walk, the one thing I can do to change the inning is not walk the guy with one out and nobody on,” the former Minnesota closer said.
Then Suzuki got one past Carrera.
“With Suzuki, what can I say?” Nathan said. “He placed one right in the spot. I love seeing Carrera go all out and trying to make a play in that situation, but unfortunately, the worst thing happens.”
After Martinez’s homer off Glen Perkins (4-3), it looked as if the Tigers had another big ninth-inning win as they try to maintain a slim lead over Kansas City in the AL Central.
“Everyone was excited. We know what’s going on. We’re all in it,” Martinez said. “To come through was huge, but it hurts at the same time. Right now, it’s pointless. Just got to come back tomorrow and get ready for tomorrow.”
Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in the ninth to rally the Tigers to a win Monday night in the series opener.
Minnesota rookie slugger Kennys Vargas was a double away from the cycle and hit a home run in the sixth that made it 2-0.
Twins starter Ricky Nolasco held the Tigers scoreless over eight innings and only allowed two runners to reach second base.
Even though the Twins are out of contention, they’re still showing some intensity down the stretch.
“It’s so emotional,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Everything is so emotional. These guys are fighting to win a pennant. We’re fighting to try to win a ballgame”
Rick Porcello struck out five and allowed two runs in eight innings.
Ausmus said he already talked to Carrera about not taking unnecessary risks in those types of late-game situations.
“He was trying his tail off, which is good,” Ausmus said. “But the smart play there is if you’re not sure that you’re going to catch it, contain it and keep it first and second.”
TIGERS: C Alex Avila became light-headed during a pregame workout and missed his second straight game with concussion-like symptoms. He remains day to day. 3B Nick Castellanos was scratched from the lineup about an hour before first pitch with left foot soreness. Don Kelly moved to third and Rajai Davis took over in center field. Anibal Sanchez (strained muscle) hopes to throw another bullpen session before pitching in a simulated game. He could pitch out of the bullpen when he returns.
TWINS: SS Eduardo Escobar left the game in the fourth after jamming his right shoulder diving for a Hunter grounder. He’ll be evaluated Wednesday. OF Oswaldo Arcia told Gardenhire he could play, but the manager gave him the night off with a strained back.
David Price (14-11, 3.26) has lasted at least seven innings in six of his eight starts since being traded to the Tigers. He faces Kyle Gibson (11-11, 4.58) on Wednesday in the series finale.