MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Miguel Sanó homered and Minnesota pitchers shut down Detroit until the ninth inning, as the Twins beat the Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Caleb Thielbar (7-0) was one of four relievers with scoreless innings in relief of starter Charlie Barnes. Alexander Colomé allowed two runs in the ninth, yet earned his 17th save.
“I have no idea how I got the win tonight,” said Thielbar when asked about his perfect record. “That makes no sense at all, but it’s cool. … obviously been a tough year for us, so, I mean, just to have that record, I think that’s pretty cool.”
Sanó connected for his 30th home run of the season, a solo shot off reliever José Ureña to the second deck in left field leading off the seventh. He became the seventh player in Twins history with multiple 30-homer seasons, joining Harmon Killebrew, Justin Morneau, Brian Dozier, Gary Gaetti, Tom Brunansky and Bob Allison.
“We talk about the interesting way that he kind of gets to all of this production but ultimately, that’s the production you’re looking for,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Yes, the beginning of the year this year, there was more swing and miss than maybe you’re looking for and all that. That’s not what we need to really focus on here, because in the last few months, he’s been very steady, actually.”
Tyler Alexander (2-4) surrendered just one run in six innings for Detroit, which has lost four of five as it starts a season-ending road trip. Akil Baddoo and Jonathan Schoop had RBI singles in the ninth off Colomé.
Alexander allowed four hits and struck out six. The lone run he allowed was created by Byron Buxton’s speed.
The left-hander walked Buxton to start the third. Buxton stole second and then advanced to third on a flyout to medium center field by Jorge Polanco. Buxton scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Garver.
“We walked him. That’s probably the worst part of that,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s hard to control on the bases. He’s one of the most dynamic players in the league when he’s healthy and in the lineup. That particular one, he didn’t have to hit his way on. We gave him a free pass and that’s pretty dangerous.”
Alexander retired the final 12 batters he faced after Buxton’s walk.
JUST A BIT OUTSIDE
In the second, Alexander sent a pitch that went high and landed in the stands. After he had started his motion, home plate umpire Todd Tichenor called time, so Alexander continued his throw, a tactic he learned from a college teammate.
“I thought it was hilarious when he would do it,” Alexander said, noting he usually tries to throw the ball to the backstop. “He told me one day that it served a purpose; kind of like a free change of eye level if you think just a fastball up. If they’re going to call time, it’s safer for me to not stop my mechanics and risk getting hurt that way. And I don’t want to actually throw the pitch because then they know what’s coming. That’s my way of getting a free change of eye level.”
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd underwent surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his throwing arm. Boyd has been out since Sept. 9 with a left elbow strain. … Hinch said RHP José Cisnero (right elbow laceration) won’t return this season. Cisnero, on the 10-day injured list, had a throwing session that Hinch said went well and the pitcher doesn’t have any swelling, but the team won’t ramp him up to appear in a game again this season. Cisnero will continue his throwing program. … LHP Miguel Del Pozo (COVID-19 protocols) played long toss and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.
Twins: Barnes received the start after being recalled from Triple-A St. Paul before the game. RHP Bailey Ober was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hip strain. Ober’s rookie season ends with a 3-3 record, 4.19 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 92 1/3 innings over 20 starts this season.
RHP Michael Pineda (8-8, 3.73 ERA) will start Wednesday night for Minnesota, and Detroit counters with RHP Casey Mize (7-8, 3.63). Pineda has allowed two earned runs or less in his four appearances since coming off the disabled list with an oblique strain. Mize has been limited to no more than three innings and 53 pitches in his last four starts as he nears the end of his first full season in the majors.
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