Minneapolis — The ridiculous occasionally becomes the sublime.
But it also can sink to being the ludicrous.
And it was to the latter the Tigers’ pitching generosity had transitioned by the time they finally stopped allowing runs in Saturday’s 12-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins in Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader. Detroit’s Saturday afternoon’s loss followed Friday night’s 20-6 losing debacle.
In Robbie Ray and Buck Farmer, manager Brad Ausmus knew he was going with young starters in both games, out of necessity. And, as Ausmus said, “It worked out the worst possible way.”
Spanning the two games, the Twins scored in six consecutive innings against the Tigers. Not only that, but from the sixth inning Friday night through the third inning Saturday, the Tigers were outscored, 23-2.
Here’s how their runs allowed went in the six innings: 9-2-3-1-6-2.
In Friday night’s game, the Tigers narrowed the gap to 6-5 with four runs in the fifth. But that’s when the floodgates leading to 14 Twins runs opened.
And they remained open in the first game of the split doubleheader Saturday when Farmer struggled — especially in the Twins’ six-run second.
“Balls up the zone,” Ausmus said of the way Farmer pitched. “With balls up in the zone, major-league hitters get hits.”
The Twins scored one run in the first and added six more in the second — “everything going downhill,” said Farmer, citing in particular Eduardo Escobar’s one-out single after a leadoff bunt single.
“I didn’t recover from it,” Farmer said.
He hit the next batter with a pitch, then gave up a bases-loaded triple to Jordan Schafer.
The Tigers made a brief run at the Twins on Saturday, scoring three in the fifth to cut Minnesota’s lead from 9-1 to 9-4, while getting three scoreless innings from left-hander Kyle Lobstein, who made his major-league debut.
“At that point, I actually felt like we were getting back in it,” said Ausmus.
But having already used so many pitchers in the two games, Ausmus left Lobstein in the game to absorb a three-run double in the seventh that jacked the Twins’ lead back to eight runs.
Lobstein ended up throwing 100 pitches in a relief stint of 52⁄3 innings — but that left the Tigers with a reasonably rested bullpen in case Justin Verlander struggled in the second game, his first start since being limited by shoulder soreness to one inning in Pittsburgh on Aug. 11.