For the second time in three days, the Detroit Tigers trailed by four runs before recording an out.
It happened in Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Rookie left-hander Tarik Skubal allowed a double, single, three-run home run and solo shot to begin his outing. The same happened Tuesday to lefty Tyler Alexander against the Minnesota Twins. He gave up a single, single, walk and grand slam to Mitch Garver.
This time, Eric Haase’s power delivered a game-tying grand slam in the top of the ninth inning. He battled with Twins reliever Hansel Robles for eight pitches before sending his fastball over the wall in right field to even the score at five runs.
The Tigers (48-55) mounted a comeback for a 6-5 win over the Twins in the 11th inning at Target Field on Miguel Cabrera’s single to score Jonathan Schoop — the free extra-inning runner — against right-handed reliever Jorge Alcala.
With the 2,936th hit of his career, Cabrera passed Barry Bonds for 37th on the all-time MLB hits leaderboard.
Lefty Daniel Norris pitched a perfect 11th inning, snapping a four-game losing streak.
In the ninth, Cabrera doubled with one out against Robles, sending Robbie Grossman to third base. Jeimer Candelario drew a walk to load the bases. Haase’s shot to right was the first grand slam of his career and 17th home run in 54 games this season.
To send the game to extra innings, Kyle Funkhouser pitched out of a jam he created in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Tigers threatened in the 10th inning when Harold Castro dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance Victor Reyes — the extra-inning runner at second base — to third. Akil Baddoo struck out looking, and the Twins replaced left-hander Caleb Thielbar with Alcala, a right-hander, to face Schoop.
Schoop grounded out on the first pitch from Alcala, ending his hitting streak at 16 games.
Jose Cisnero took over for Funkhouser in the 10th inning. He loaded the bases with one out but struck out Max Kepler and Miguel Sano — both with 98 mph fastballs — to keep the Twins from scoring. Before Cabrera’s go-ahead single, Grossman advanced Schoop from second to third base on a deep fly out.
In the top of the first, the Tigers squandered their chance to start the scoring. Baddoo opened the game by hitting Twins starter Kenta Maeda’s sinker for a double to right field. He advanced on Schoop’s groundout, and Grossman drew a walk to put runners on the corners.
But Cabrera grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Tigers eventually scored run in the third inning, when Baddoo crushed his 10th home run this season. He drilled a 1-0 fastball from Maeda, sending the ball 394 feet to right field for a 4-1 deficit.
In December, the Twins decided not to protect Baddoo from the Rule 5 draft, so Detroit swooped and grabbed the 22-year-old prospect. Since being picked by the Tigers, Baddoo — without experience above High-A in the minor leagues — has evolved into an American League Rookie of the Year candidate.
Through Baddoo’s past 11 games, he is hitting .298 (14-for-47) with five home runs, 14 RBIs, two walks and nine strikeouts. He has a .274 batting average in 81 games this season.
In the fifth inning, Haase turned on a 2-1 slider and sent the ball down the left-field line. The ball appeared to sneak inside the foul pole for a home run, but the umpires deemed it a foul ball as Haase reached second base in his home-run trot.
A replay review confirmed the call on the field — foul ball. Haase then struck out on a slider for the first out in the fifth.
Maeda guided the Twins through 6⅓ innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks. He struck out five and used his slider, four-seam fastball and splitter to breeze past the Tigers. Following Baddoo’s home run, Maeda retired 10 batters in a row.
In the seventh, Grossman (single) and Cabrera (walk) put pressure on Maeda, but he answered with a crucial out when Candelario grounded out. The Twins went to reliever Tyler Duffey to face Haase, who grounded into a double play with runners on the corners.
After Alexander put the Tigers behind 4-0, he settled in and completed four innings. Willians Astudillo, however, lined a first-pitch slider over the left-field wall for a 5-1 lead. Alexander allowed five runs on six hits and one walk. He struck out two batters and threw 36 of 56 pitches for strikes.
Reliever Michael Fulmer — making his first appearance since June 26 — entered for the fifth inning.
The Tigers activated Fulmer from the injured list Tuesday. He had been sidelined since June 27 with a right cervical spine strain and went through two rehab outings in Triple-A Toledo before returning to the big leagues.
Fulmer struck out Jorge Polanco looked with a 95 mph two-seam fastball, allowed a single to Brent Rooker on a first-pitch slider and got Josh Donaldson to ground into an inning-ending double play on a first-pitch sinker. He threw five of seven pitches for strikes in his scoreless fifth frame.
Ramirez goes three innings
Entering Tuesday, Erasmo Ramirez has allowed at least one earned run in five of his seven outings.
This time, he picked up where Fulmer left off with scoreless sixth, seventh and eighth innings. He allowed one hit and one walk, with two strikeouts, and fired 45 pitches. In his past three appearances, Ramirez has not allowed a run.
Ramirez worked around a walk in the sixth and double in the seventh before posting a perfect eighth. He finished his outing by striking out Kepler on three pitches.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.