Detroit rallies late to hand Twins rare Central Division loss
Detroit’s 4-2, 10-inning victory snapped a six-game winning streak and dropped Minnesota to 14-4 in division games
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The American League Central has agreed with the Minnesota Twins this season, but not every game against their division rivals is going to be easy.
Twins reliever Emilio Pagan surrendered a game-tying home run to Harold Castro — his second in a row — in the eighth inning, and Jeimer Candelario hit a two-run homer in the 10th off Trevor Megill as the Detroit Tigers staved off a series sweep with a 4-2 victory Wednesday at Target Field.
“I don’t know if it got away from us. I mean, we just lost,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We just are going to be in games where we have opportunities and don’t get the job done. We’ve been getting used to getting the job done on most nights. We weren’t able to do it today.”
It was just the Twins’ fourth loss in 18 games against their four Central rivals this season, with last-place Kansas City coming here Thursday to start a four-game series.
Trevor Larnach hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning, and Dylan Bundy pitched 5⅔ solid innings, but the Tigers snapped the Twins’ six-game winning streak in front of a crowd much smaller than the 20,375 announced at Target Field, where it was 50 degrees and damp at the delayed first pitch.
Center fielder Gilberto Celestino had a bead on Candelario’s home run, but his leap at the wall fell short and the ball landed in the grass in front of the batter’s eye for a 4-2 lead.
“It was (close). He took that pretty personal,” said Byron Buxton, the team’s regular center fielder who led off as the designated hitter Wednesday. “I just kind of had to calm him down a little bit; I’ve done missed a few like that, so I kinda understand the feeling.”
The Twins had a chance to at least tie the game in the 10th after loading the bases with no out off Michael Fulmer. With Celestino at second as the automatic runner, Buxton reached on a throwing error by shortstop Javy Baez, and Luis Arraez moved the runners over on a single to center.
But Carlos Correa struck out swinging after nearly being hit by a Fulmer pitch — it hit the handle of his bat — and left-hander Andrew Chafin retired Max Kepler on strikes and Gary Sanchez on a foul ball to first baseman Spencer Torkelson to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
Megill (0-1), making his second appearance for the Twins, was charged with the loss. Alex Lange (1-1) pitched two-thirds of the ninth inning for the win.
Bundy was charged with one earned run on three hits and a pair of walks in his longest start since he threw six innings in a 6-1 loss at Tampa Bay. He lowered his earned-run average to 4.54 in his second game since returning from the COVID injured list. He was placed on the list with infielder Luis Arraez after he started a 5-3 loss at Baltimore. He pitched three innings in a 5-2 loss at Oakland before starting on Wednesday.
“I think I felt a lot better compared to the last game as far as command of the pitches and where I wanted each and every pitch to go,” the right-hander said. “I felt a lot better overall and stronger towards the end of the game than the beginning of it. So, I was happy with that aspect of it.”
Sanchez started the fourth by drawing a walk off Detroit starter Rony Garcia, and Larnach followed by clubbing an 0-1 pitch an estimated 431 feet into the second deck in right-center for a 2-0 lead.
Castro hit two leadoff homers, including the game-tying shot in the eighth, but was lifted for pinch-hitter Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded in the ninth against left-hander Caleb Thielbar.
Thielbar retired the first batter he faced on a groundout before loading the bases on walks to Eric Haase and Daz Cameron and a single by No. 9 hitter Derek Hill. But Thielbar got Cabrera looking at a fastball that might have been low of the zone, then coaxed a pop fly to right by Jonathan Schoop to end the threat.
“He came through,” Baldelli said. “He fought himself a little bit. He’s also thrown a lot recently and was hot a few times even when he didn’t pitch. And he’s done a good job for us.”
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