DETROIT (AP)Eric Haase had three hits, including a home run, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Saturday night.
The Tigers have won seven of eight.
The Twins will have to win their final four games to finish with a .500 season.
”I don’t usually worry about things like our final record,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. ”Our goal here is to build a team that can win a World Series, not finish with 81 wins. But they print the standings every day, so it isn’t like we can avoid seeing them. It would have been nice to have a winning record, but we have a lot more important issues ahead of us.”
With the score tied at 2 in the sixth, Javier Baez was hit by a pitch from Ronny Henriquez (0-1). Baez moved to second on a fly ball. Harold Castro grounded to first baseman Luis Arraez, but he missed Henriquez with his throw, allowing Baez to score the go-ahead run.
Daniel Norris (2-0) picked up the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Andrew Chafin picked up his second save after A.J. Hinch used closer Gregory Soto in the eighth.
”When you have to go to the bullpen in the fifth, it is going to create matchup problems at some point, because you only have so many guys out there,” Hinch said. ”We had a plan, but we had to adjust it a lot as the game went on.”
Tigers starter Drew Hutchison allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings, while Minnesota’s Dylan Bundy gave up two runs on five hits in five innings.
”Our season started out pretty dang good for the first four months, and then it didn’t happen for us in the last two,” said Bundy, who led the Twins with 29 starts. ”We’ve got these last four games, and then I’m going to take a break before I sit down and assess everything that happened this year.”
After being shut out for the 22nd time on Friday – the most by an AL team in the DH era – the Tigers only needed three batters to score. After Akil Baddoo flew out, Riley Greene singled to right and the ball got by Matt Wallner for a two-base error. Baez followed with an RBI single.
The Tigers added a run on Eric Haase’s fourth-inning home run, but Mark Contreras made it 2-1 with a lead-off homer in the fifth. Two of the next three batters singled, bringing Jose Cisnero out of the Tigers bullpen. He struck out Jose Miranda, but Gio Urshela tied the game with a base hit.
Miranda led off the eighth with a base hit, and the Twins put in Billy Hamilton as a pinch runner. Alex Lange threw his 15th wild pitch of the season, moving him one ahead of Shohei Ohtani for the major-league lead, and Hamilton took third on Urshela’s ground out.
WELCOME TO THE MAJORS
Brendon Davis made his major-league debut for the Tigers, playing third base. He flew out in his first at-bat before striking out twice.
FILLING IN AS NEEDED
Hutchison, who didn’t make his first start until June 14, will finish the season ranked second on the Tigers in both starts (18) and innings (105 1/3). The 31-year-old hadn’t started more than five games in a season since starting 50 for the Blue Jays in 2014-15.
”Those were very meaningful innings for us,” Hinch said. ”In a year where we’ve used 17 starting pitchers, he’s been a guy who we’ve been able to keep in the rotation. He’s someone who has started Opening Days in the past, and now he’s been able to reinvent himself as a pitcher.”
The teams finish their season series on Sunday afternoon. The game will start at 12:10, less than an hour before the scheduled start of the Lions-Seahawks game across the street at Ford Field. Joey Wentz (2-2, 3.54) will start against Twins prospect Simeon Woods Richardson, who will be making his major-league debut.
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