Oswaldo Arcia clubbed a baseball 416 feet. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera topped him with a 432-foot bazooka, and tacked on a 418 blast for good measure. Trevor Plouffe jolted a ball 369 feet, and Detroit’s J.D. Martinez matched him with a 362-foot wallop into the flower pots.
Tigers catcher James McCann even collected an inside-the-park home run that hit the center field wall 400 feet away and ricocheted another 500 feet down the warning track.
So naturally, the hit that cost the Twins the most on Wednesday, the one that broke the tie and propelled the Tigers to a 10-7 victory over the Twins, landed on the pitcher’s mound. With five ballplayers surrounding it.
Yeonis Cespedes hit the towering popup, Trevor Plouffe battled the sun before it landed just out of his reach, and Detroit turned that opening into a two-out rally that handed the Twins a loss they could have, should have, avoided in about 10 different ways.
The Twins lost a little dignity in a variety of ways on Wednesday, but even worse, they may have lost their No. 1 starter, their top set-up reliever, and an outfielder, too.
Phil Hughes, in search of his first win of the season, pitched only five innings before pain in his hip forced him out, albeit with a 7-3 lead. He has a mild strain in his hip flexor, putting his next start in doubt.
Meanwhile, center fielder Jordan Schafer slipped on the grass after beating out a bunt single, and left the game with a strained MCL ligament in his right knee. And reliever Casey Fien was removed from the game mid-batter in the ninth, with an undetermined arm injury.
This one would have been hurt even without the parade to the trainer’s room, though.
For much of the afternoon, it appeared to be Hughes’ chance to finally snap his season-opening 0-4 skid, because even after he allowed a run on a Cabrera double off the right-field limestone — yes, the two-time MVP came about 18 inches from a three-homer day — the Twins bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the inning, on a Joe Mauer RBI double and Arcia’s cannon shot onto the plaza behind the right-field seats.
And even when Hughes gave up the tying runs on three straight doubles in the fifth, Minnesota surged ahead with a four-run inning, capped by Plouffe’s three-run blast. Even with Hughes having to leave the game with the hip injury, his chances of collecting that first win seemed good. For about 10 minutes.
Once the game was turned over to the Twins’ bullpen, things fell apart quickly. Cabrera and Martinez hit solo home runs off Tim Stauffer. With a runner on first, Aaron Thompson then surrendered a long fly ball that hit off the center-field wall as Schafer crashed into it, then bounced off his leg toward right field. Oswaldo Arcia had not moved toward the play until the ball started rolling, however, and by the time Schafer reached it, the Tigers’ catcher had recorded the first inside-the-park in Target Field in more than three years, since the Angels’ Peter Bourjos hit one on April 11, 2012.
But that only tied the score.
The go-ahead run reached base in the eighth inning on a sky-high popup. Plouffe tried to shield his eyes as he chased it near the mound, with four other players watching, but his final lunge for the ball came up short. McCann and Andrew Romine soon singled, and the Tigers had a lead that felt like a gift.
They put the game away when Cabrera homered again in the ninth, though the game ended with the tying run — Plouffe — at the plate against closer Joaquin Soria. He struck out.