Detroit – The Detroit Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, 5-2, marking back-to-back victories in the weekend series and a victory for their final home game of the 2022 season.
The Twins had halted the Tigers six-game win-streak short on Friday, 7-0, but the Tigers were able to salvage a 3-2 win on Saturday to even the series.
“We want to go home at the end of the year feeling better than we have for much of the year and wins will do that, but also how you play matters,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “I think our guys are playing with energy. We’re not perfect, but we’re playing competent baseball to get everybody enjoying coming back to the ballpark. “We’ve been pretty good about hanging in there. It’s a good characteristic to have, shows good team character.”
The first inning started out hot for the Tigers. Left fielder Akil Baddoo walked to first base, waiting for the opportunity to open up. While Riley Greene stepped up, Baddoo stole second, his seventh steal this season. He immediately found headway and advanced to third base after Twins catcher Ryan Jeffers made a throwing error.
Greene ended up lining out to right field, putting catcher Eric Haase on deck. Another error by the Twins, this time a fielding error, allowed Baddoo to send it home and get the Tigers on the board first, 1-0. That brought designated hitter Miguel Cabrera to the plate, celebrating his 1,000th career-game in Comerica Park. His line drive down center field put Haase on third.
That’s when things got wild.
A wild pitch by Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson created some chaos. Haase booked it home to get the Tigers up 2-0, and Cabrera rounded to third. Another throwing error by Jeffers, a supposed sacrifice fly by second baseman Jonathan Schoop, and Cabrera attempted to add to the lead.
However, the play was quickly challenged by the Twins and reversed, with Cabrera ruled out at home.
Haase made it 3-0 with a solo home run in the third. This is his second solo homer against the Twins this weekend, the other coming in the fourth inning Saturday, and his 14th of the season.
The Twins answered in the fifth. Jeffers managed to reach on a fielding error by Baddoo, payback for earlier, and left fielder Gilberto Celestino trailed behind. With the bases loaded, shortstop Carlos Correa headed to the plate, walking to first and bringing Jeffers home. Left fielder Nick Gordon went up to bat and delivered a sacrifice fly, scoring Celestino to trim the Tigers’ lead to one.
Pitching changes were made at that point. Joey Wentz was removed for Will Vest, who was replaced in the sixth with Garrett Hill. Justin Foley, Alex Lange and Gregory Soto made appearances.
The Tigers added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Right fielder Victor Reyes knocked a home run into the stands, and Baddoo scored on another line drive down center field from Cabrera, who was replaced by pinch-runner Kody Clemens.
“(This is) big,” Haase said. “We’re trying to finish on the best note we can. Obviously we wish we were playing like this the entire year, … but we’re just trying to finish strong and make whatever good we can. We obviously have a lot of talent in the locker room. I’m very happy with where the front office seems to be going, very clear plan forward. That’s exciting. A lot of young guys that hopefully just need direction and we take off from there.”
The Tigers (65-93) are scheduled to fly out to Washington on Monday, for a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners (87-70) to officially close out the 2022 regular season.
Sara Tidwell is a freelance writer.
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