FINAL: TWINS 4, TIGERS 1
After taking the first game of this series to bring their record to 7-0 against the Minnesota Twins this season, the Tigers dropped the final two games of the series and scored just four runs over 27 innings they played against the worst team in the American League's Central Division.
Justin Verlander was masterful after giving up a first inning home run to Joe Mauer, allowing just five baserunners on two hits while striking out nine. He gave the Tigers every chance to win, throwing eight innings on 112 pitches.
Francisco Rodriguez wasn't himself today in the ninth inning, giving up three runs on two home runs. That's an aberration and not something you're going to see much of going forward. What's most concerning is the Tigers offense, which had every chance to score some runs today despite a solid outing by Ervin Santana. Once again, though, runners were left stranded at inopportune times.
In the ninth, Brandon Kintzler picked up the save for Minnesota. Nick Castellanos grounded out to shortstop for the first out of the inning. Justin Upton and Mike Aviles each notched one-out singles to right field to bring the tying run to the plate. With James McCann due up, Brad Ausmus pinch-hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who struck out looking at strike three. Andrew Romine flew out to left field to end the game.
Top 9th: Twins 4, Tigers 1
Francisco Rodriguez got the call for the ninth inning and appeared to have his stuff working before serving up a two-out meatball that Max Kepler drilled out and over the right field wall to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
Kennys Vargas reached on a softly hit ground ball that Rodriguez hurried and threw wide of Miguel Cabrera at first base. That proved to be costly, as Eddie Rosario blasted a two-run shot to give Minnesota a good amount of insurance heading to the ninth.
Migeul Sano's knees buckled on a called strike three and Brian Dozier flew out to center field to start the inning.
Bottom 8th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Andrew Romine fought back from being down 0-2 and earned himself a leadoff single to left field after a 10-pitch at-bat against Ervin Santana, who was pulled from the game after a stellar start that saw him throw 110 pitches.
Ryan Pressly entered the game for Minnesota with the top of the Tigers lineup coming to the dish. Pressly struck out Ian Kinsler and got Cameron Maybin to fly out to left field, giving Miguel Cabrera a chance to be the hero. Cabrera singled to right field, putting men on first and second for Victor Martinez, who drilled a ball deep to left field but was robbed of a double by Eddie Rosario.
Top 8th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Justin Verlander had struck out nine guys and allowed just five baserunners, but after issuing a two-out walk to Eduardo Nunez, he almost got the hook when Brad Ausmus came out to the mound. At 108 pitches, Ausmus left Verlander in to face Joe Mauer, who homered off of the Tigers ace in the first inning. Verlander rewarded his manager, getting Mauer to ground out to second to end the frame. He threw 112 pitches today.
Kurt Suzuki flied out to center field and Byron Buxton struck out swinging to start the inning.
Verlander's teammates still have some work to do in the bottom of the frame to get him a much-earned victory.
Bottom 7th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Nick Castellanos notched a one-out single to center field, and after Justin Upton struck out swinging, Mike Aviles doubled to left field to put two men in scoring position with two out. James McCann couldn't deliver, however, flying out to center field to end the threat.
Victor Martinez flew out to center field to leadoff the inning.
Top 7th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Justin Verlander hit Brian Dozier with an 0-2 pitch to put the leadoff man on for the Twins. But Verlander being Verlander, he struck out Max Kepler and Kennys Vargas in the next two at-bats. Eddie Rosario flew out to left field to end the inning.
Verlander's pitch count is up to 96, but he'll likely be back out for the eighth inning with a short leash.
Bottom 6th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Andrew Romine drew a four-pitch, leadoff walk from Ervin Santana and Ian Kinsler laid down a bunt for a base hit to put the first two men on for the Tigers. Cameron Maybin grounded into an ill-timed double play, leaving a man on third for Miguel Cabrera with two outs. Cabrera fouled out to end the inning.
The Tigers just couldn't capitalize and that's been a theme at Comerica Park over the last three days against Minnesota.
Top 6th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Justin Verlander continues to keep his team in the game with another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.
Eduardo Nunez lined out to second, Joe Mauer grounded out to second and Miguel Sano flew out to left field in an eight-pitch inning for Verlander (82 pitches).
Bottom 5th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Justin Upton fouled out on the first pitch of the inning, Mike Aviles flew out to right field and James McCann did the same as Ervin Santana put together another 1-2-3 inning.
Santana is just rolling. After a 20-pitch fourth, Santana threw just eight in the fifth. His pitch count is at just 58, and it appears he's going to be around for a while. The Tigers have to figure something out.
Top 5th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Justin Verlander is having himself a good day, and it's come as the Tigers offense continues to struggle to produce any runs. Verlander set the Twins down in order in the fifth to keep the game tied at a run apiece.
Eddie Rosario grounded out to second, Kurt Suzuki grounded out back to the mound and Byron Buxton struck out looking to end the inning.
With Ervin Santana pitching well on the other side, Verlander's going to need at least two more scoreless innings if his teammates can't pick up the slack.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Miguel Cabrera notched a one-out single to center field, but Ervin Santana brushed it off, striking out Victor Martinez and getting Nick Castellanos to fly out to center field
Cameron Maybin grounded out to shortstop to leadoff the inning.
The thing the Tigers did do in the fourth was make Santana work for the first time today. The Twins' ace threw 20 pitches in the fourth, bringing his pitch count up to 50.
Top 4th: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Max Kepler drew a two-out walk, but Justin Verlander was able to get Kennys Vargas to strike out swinging to strike out the side in the fourth and bring his strikeout total to five.
Miguel Sano struck out swinging and Brian Dozier did the same to start the inning.
Verlander has his good stuff today, but so does Ervin Santana, whose pitch count is in better shape (65-30). It appears we've got a pitcher's duel on our hands. As always, it's going to come down to who blinks first.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 1, Twins 1
James McCann grounded out to third, Andrew Romine lined out to shortstop and .
Ervin Santana continues to cruise through the early part of this game after giving up a first pitch, leadoff home run to Kinsler in the first inning. His pitch count is at just 30 through the first three frames.
Top 3rd: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Kurt Suzuki notched a leadoff single to center field, but Justin Verlander dialed it in to get the next three guys in order.
Byron Buxton struck out swinging, Eduardo Nunez grounded into a fielder's choice, and with Suzuki on second base, Joe Mauer grounded out to second to end the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Nick Castellanos lined out to third base, Justin Upton lined out to left field and Mike Aviles grounded out to shortstop as the Tigers went down in order in the second.
Ervin Santana has thrown just 18 pitches through two innings.
Top 2nd: Tigers 1, Twins 1
The second inning proved to be a little bit easier for Justin Verlander, who set the Twins down in order.
Max Kepler flew out to right field, Kennys Vargas became Verlander's first strikeout victim and Eddie Rosario lined out to first base to end the inning.
Verlander's pitch count sits at 27.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 1, Twins 1
Don't worry, Justin Verlander, Ian Kinsler has your back.
After Verlander surrendered a first inning home run to Joe Mauer, Ian Kinsler took the first pitch he saw from Ervin Santana and drove it over the left field fence for his 19th home run of the season to tie the game, 1-1.
The dinger was Kinsler's 36th career leadoff home run, good for 36th all-time.
That was all the noise the Tigers could make in the first inning, though, going down in order afterwards. Cameron Maybin flew out to center field, Miguel Cabrera grounded out to shortstop and Victor Martinez flew out to left field.
Top 1st: Twins 1, Tigers 0
With one out, Joe Mauer drilled his eighth home run of the season over the right field wall for an opposite field home run on a Justin Verlander fastball that got just a little bit too much of the plate.
Miguel Sano followed with a ground ball to deep shortstop that Andrew Romine snagged and made an accurate throw to the bag for the inning's second out. Brian Dozier flew out to left field to end the frame.
Eduardo Nunes bounced out back to the mound to leadoff the inning.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Cameron Maybin, CF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Nick Castellanos, 3B
6. Justin Upton, LF
7. Mike Aviles, RF
8. James McCann, C
9. Andrew Romine, SS
1. Eduardo Nunez, SS
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Brian Dozier, 2B
5. Max Kepler, RF
6. Kennys Vargas, DH
7. Eddie Rosario, LF
8. Kurt Suzuki, C
9. Byron Buxton, CF
TIGERS VS. TWINS
When: Wednesday, 1:10 p.m.
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
Pitching matchup: RHP Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.91) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (3-8, 4.12)
Local TV: Fox Sports Detroit
National TV: None
Internet streaming: MLB.TV (blacked out in Detroit market)
Local radio: 97.1-FM
Satellite radio: SIRI 214 (SIRI Internet 849)