DETROIT — Three extras from a pitcher’s duel at Comerica Park:
The Twins didn’t have a hit until the sixth inning, and never scored off Tigers starter Matt Boyd. But that overstates the left-hander’s effectivesss on Tuesday, Brian Dozier said after the game.
“I like how we got his pitch count up. We were being patient,” Dozier said of Boyd, who thew 97 pitches over six innings. “We squared a lot of balls up. A couple balls we hit right at them, if they get by in a close ballgame, maybe we push another run across.”
Boyd’s effectiveness was particularly annoying to the Twins because he was hit so hard by the White Sox last week. Chicago scored five runs on five hits and four walks last Thursday, and Boyd only recorded seven outs.
On Tuesday, though, “he shut us down pretty well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He got a lot of outs with his breaking ball, and we didn’t adjust particularly well.”
The Twins did manage one run, off longtime closer Francisco Rodriguez. Miguel Sano pounded a one-out double off the center field wall, and Jason Castro followed with a single to right, scoring Sano.
The biggest play of the game may have been made by right fielder Mikie Mahtook on Castro’s hit, because it initially looked as if it would roll to the wall. but Mahtook hustled over to cut it off, holding Castro to a long single. That meant he couldn’t score when Joe Mauer, pinch-hitting for Chris Gimenez, popped a single down the third-base line, or when Eddie Rosario followed with a fly ball deep enough to score him from third. Rosario’s fly ball was simply the second out, and Rodriguez ended the game by inducing pinch-hitter Max Kepler to pop up, delivering the veteran’s 433rd career save.
“His changeup is his best pitch these days, but he mixes it up with his fastball to keep you honest,” Molitor said. Both Rosario and Kepler put Rodriguez’s first pitch into play, but Molitor said he was OK with that. “Sometimes that first one is the best one,” Molitor said. “He likes to get ahead and get you to chase.”
Hector Santiago said he was mildly surprised when Paul Molitor removed him with one out in the seventh inning, after a Jorge Polanco error allowed Mahtook to reach base. The lefthander had allowed only three hits and a walk to that point, but James McCann — who two innings earlier launched the two-run homer that won the game for the Tigers — was coming to the plate.
“I think it was McCann-related,” Santiago said of his removal. McCann had homered against him once before, and had three homers on the season. “He’s had some damage in the past. He wanted to try to keep [the score] there, get a righty in.”
Santiago had only thrown 84 pitches, and he had higher hopes.
“My plan was to go out for the eighth [inning],” Santiago said. “[Polanco’s] error was probably the decision-maker. If I get that out, I probably face McCann and hopefully go back out for the eighth inning.”