Live blog: Tigers fall to Twins; Cabrera exits with injury
FINAL: TWINS 6, TIGERS 3
Everything was going right, until it wasn't, as the Tigers fell 6-3 to the Twins in the weekend series opener in Minnesota.
The Tigers took a 3-0 lead on James McCann's solo shot in the top of the sixth, and Justin Verlander had appeared to reign in his early control problems. But the Twins were able to put on their patient pants on in the bottom of the sixth, drawing three straight walks off of Verlander, chasing him from the game. Two batters later, Eddie Rosario capped a six-run inning with a three-run blast off of Jose Jimenez.
As if things couldn't get any worse, Miguel Cabrera left the game in the seventh inning with a right groin strain. The Tigers say he will be reevaluated tomorrow.
In the ninth, Brandon Kintzler came on and got the save for the Twins. Mikie Mahtook got things started with a leadoff single for the Tigers, but he was thrown out at second when James McCann grounded into a fielder's choice. Tyler Collins got the call to pinch-hit, and he grounded into a fielder's choice of his own that moved McCann up to second. Andrew Romine lined out to second to end the game.
The loss is the fourth straight for the Tigers, who are now reeling after a solid 8-4 start to the season.
Verlander's final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 4 K
Bottom 8th: Twins 6, Tigers 3
Anibal Sanchez had an easy 1-2-3 eighth inning, striking out Robbie Grossman, and getting Jason Castro and Jorge Polanco to fly out to left field to end the inning.
Top 8th: Twins 6, Tigers 3
Dixon Machado grounded out back to the mound, Victor Martinez lined out to second and Justin Upton grounded out to third as the Tigers went down in order against Twins reliever Taylor Rogers.
Bottom 7th: Twins 6, Tigers 3
Blaine Hardy got the call in the seventh inning and set the Twins down in order to keep the Tigers within striking distance late in Minnesota.
Max Kepler grounded out to second, Miguel Sano struck out swinging and Joe Mauer grounded out to second to end the inning.
Top 7th: Twins 6, Tigers 3
After Andrew Romine fouled out down the first base line against starter Hector Santiago, the Twins turned to the bullpen and reliever Ryan Pressly. Pressly got Ian Kinsler to ground out to shortstop, and Nick Castellanos struck out swinging.
Of note: Alex Avila was on deck in place of Miguel Cabrera during Castellanos' at-bat. It's not immediately apparent what has caused the switch, though Cabrera was seen heading back to the locker room after the sixth inning. He has dealt with a nagging back issue early in the season.
Bottom 6th: Twins 6, Tigers 3
Justin Verlander walked the bases loaded to start the sixth inning, and even at 106 pitches, Brad Ausmus let him stay in the game to try and get out of the mess he had created.
Well, that proved to be the wrong decision.
Robbie Grossman hit a soft ground ball to the right side of the infield that squirted under the gloves of Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler, plating a pair and cutting the Tigers lead to 3-2.
Kyle Ryan got the call from the bullpen with men on first and second. Jason Castro grounded out to second, moving the runners up to second and third.
After facing just one batter, Ryan got the hook in favor of Joe Jimenez, who was brought back from Toledo today. Jorge Polanco got jammed on a fastball from Jimenez, fighting it off into left field to score the runner from third and tie the game 3-3.
That's when Eddie Rosario struck, driving a ball over the wall in left field for a three-run shot that gives Minnesota a 6-3 lead.
After striking out Byron Buxton, the highly-touted Jimenez got Brian Dozier to ground out to third to end the inning.
Top 6th: Tigers 3, Twins 0
James McCann turned on a Hector Santiago fastball and drove it into the second deck at Target Field for a two-out solo shot that pushes the Tigers lead to 3-0.
Jacoby Jones struck out looking to end the frame.
Justin Upton grounded out to shortstop, and Mikie Mahtook struck out swinging to start the inning.
Santiago has six strikeouts. His pitch count is up to 97, so he's probably done for the night.
Bottom 5th: Tigers 2, Twins 0
Eddie Rosario flew out to left field, Byron Buxton struck out swinging and Brian Dozier flew out to right field as Justin Verlander set the Twins down in order.
Verlander's pitch count is at 87. If he has a somewhat quick sixth, he should get a shot at pitching seven tonight.
Top 5th: Tigers 2, Twins 0
Miguel Cabrera notched a two-out single deep behind second base, making him 3-for-3 so far tonight. Victor Martinez couldn't keep the good times rolling, grounding out softly to Twins pitcher Hector Santiago to end the frame.
Ian Kinsler popped out for the third time tonight, and Nick Castellanos flew out to right field to start the inning.
Bottom 4th: Tigers 2, Twins 0
Justin Verlander walked Robbie Grossman to leadoff the inning, but he bounced back and got a double play ball off the bat of Jason Castro. Jorge Polanco became Verlander's third strikeout victim when he went down swinging to end the inning.
Top 4th: Tigers 2, Twins 0
James McCann flew out to center field, Jacoby Jones grounded out to third base and Andrew Romine struck out to end the fourth.
Hector Santiago's pitch count is in decent shape at 63.
Bottom 3rd: Tigers 2, Twins 0
Justin Verlander worked out of some trouble in the third inning, getting out of a jam with runners on the corners and just one out to preserve the Tigers 2-0 lead.
Byron Buxton "singled" to leadoff the inning after Andrew Romine bobbled a ball hit directly at him and hurried the throw to first base. As the Fox Sports Detroit duo of Mario and Rod pointed out, I'm not sure the last time someone was credited with a hit after hitting the ball directly at an infielder. If that ball was fielded cleanly, Buxton would have been out. Maybe the hometown scoring, mixed with Buxton's .082 average had something to do with that being ruled a hit.
Anyhow, the inning continued, and Brian Dozier singled through the left side of the infield to put the Twins in business with two men on and nobody out. Max Kepler flew out to right field, allowing Buxton to move up to third. Verlander dusted off Miguel Sano with a fastball that touched 98 on the radar gun, and got Joe Mauer to fly out to left field to end the inning.
That at-bat to Sano was some vintage Verlander. He needed the strikeout, and reared back and got it with some serious heat.
Top 3rd: Tigers 2, Twins 0
Nick Castellanos drove a two-out single to center field, and Miguel Cabrera got a little bit lucky when a pop fly dropped just inside the right field line behind first base. That luck translated to a 1-0 lead when Victor Martinez singled through the left side of the infield to score Castellanos from third.
With two men still on, Justin Upton drove a double over the head of centerfielder Byron Buxton to score Cabrera and push the Tigers lead to 2-0.
Mikie Mahtook flew out to left field to end the frame.
Andrew Romine struck out swinging, and Ian Kinsler flew out to left center field to start the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Tigers 0, Twins 0
Justin Verlander issued a two-out walk to Jorge Polanco, who moved up to third after James McCann threw the ball into the outfield on an attempted stolen base. No matter, as Verlander got Eddie Rosario to pop out to shallow center field to end the inning.
Robbie Grossman struck out, and Verlander got Jason Castro to ground out to second for the first two outs of the frame.
Verlander's pitch count is slightly elevated at 38.
Top 2nd: Tigers 0, Twins 0
James McCann drew a two-out walk from Hector Santiago, but Jacoby Jones struck out looking on a fastball on the inside part of the plate to end the inning.
Justin Upton flew out to left field on the first pitch of the inning, and Mikie Mahtook grounded out to third to start the inning.
Bottom 1st: Tigers 0, Twins 0
Justin Verlander issued a two-out walk to Miguel Sano, and after giving up a hard-hit ball to Joe Mauer, had his bacon saved by Justin Upton, who made a terrific running catch as he went barreling into the left field wall.
Brian Dozier flew out to center field, and Max Kepler grounded out to second to leadoff the inning.
Top 1st: Tigers 0, Twins 0
Miguel Cabrera delivered a two-out single to left field, but Victor Martinez flew out to right field to end the inning.
Ian Kinsler popped out to second base on the first pitch of the game, and Nick Castellanos struck out looking for the first two outs of the inning.
Hector Santiago threw just 11 pitches in the opening frame.
Tigers at Twins
When: 8:10 p.m. FridayTarget Field, Minneapolis
Pitchers: Tigers, RHP Justin Verlander (1-1, 5.79); Twins, LHP Hector Santiago (1-1, 1.49
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Nicholas Castellanos, 3B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Justin Upton, LF
6. Mikie Mahtook, RF
7. James McCann, C
8. JaCoby Jones, CF
9. Andrew Romine, SS
Justin Verlander, SP
1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Max Kepler, RF
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Joe Mauer, 1B
5. Robbie Grossman, DH
6. Jason Castro, C
7. Jorge Polanco, SS
8. Eddie Rosario, LF
9. Byron Buxton, CF
Hector Santiago, SP